“maggie and milly and molly and may”

“Perhaps the truth depends upon a walk around the lake.” Wallace Stevens

Or a stroll at the beach? Today’s whimsical poem captures the adventures and mental clarity we often discover at the beach.

maggie and milly and molly and may

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

e.e. cummings

This short animated film brings the poem to life:

What does a perfect beach day look like to you?

Do you have a favorite beach or sea that you like to visit?

Cummings suggests that losing ourselves can help us find ourselves. How do you lose yourself to find yourself — at the beach, or elsewhere?


“maggie and milly and molly and may” by E.E. Cummings. Complete Poems 1904-1962. Copyrighted material used for educational or therapeutic purposes.

Image: Jon J. Muth


  1. I love this poem, although I get tongue tied saying it! When I moved back to RI in 2011, I used to run every morning to the beach. I had a favorite log I would sit on and ponder my life. It was a peaceful place for me. There is something about listening to the waves that I can’t put into words. Watching the fishermen was fun too. I like looking for sea glass, especially green sea glass. Like May, the round, white, clear, smooth stones are my favorite!

    Liked by 2 people

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