Thursday, April 2, 2020

Poetry Month #2: Maggie and Millie and Molly and May by e.e. cummings

Update April 1, 2020 - for years I've wanted to make it through the entire month of April, posting a poem a day. This year, with the aid of a pandemic that has dramatically increased my available time, I'm trying again.
It's time to celebrate poetry. The next 30 days will honor poems that have been my favorites for many years and some that are recent friends.

This poem comes from e. e. cummings who began writing poems when he was 10.  The poem's easy, playful rhyme is like a day at the beach and yet each of the four girls find very different things during their day of play.  Fate or happenstance?  

For me, the last line is a powerful reminder of the way the Universe works, for we always find ourselves regardless of what sea we visit.

Click here to listen to a choral recording from composer and conductor Eric Whiteacre.

maggie and milly and molly and may

e.e. cummings
maggie and milly and molly and may 
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang 
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing 
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone 
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me) 
it's always ourselves we find in the sea


  1. How interesting to hear this set to music!

    ee cummings has always been a favorite of mine, too. Some of his love poems are quite touching and, as you say of this delightful poem, they convey a wisdom sometimes easily missed.

  2. I was a HUGE fan of ee cummings in high school; my two favorites were "she being brand new" (heh heh) and something about it being spring and the world is puddle-wonderful...

    ...and I agree -- great photo!