Study Guide

my father moved through dooms of love Man and the Natural World

By E. E. Cummings

Man and the Natural World

for he could feel the mountains grow. (6)

With this quote, the speaker makes it seem like his dad is totally in touch with nature. Being able to "feel the mountains grow" is pretty impressive to us. We're guessing that the speaker probably doesn't mean this literally, though. Could it be that the speaker means that his father could see the big picture?

Lifting the valleys of the sea (17)

Man, not only can the speaker's father "feel the mountains grow," he can take the lowest parts of the sea and turn them into mountains. We're even more impressed than before. In this case, it seems like the speaker is using this nature imagery to express the way his father was able to lift the spirits of those around him.

praising a forehead called the moon (19)

Now the nature imagery in the poem moves from the earth to outer space. The father is shown praising the moon. What is he? Some kind of moon worshiping pagan? A werewolf? Well, the idea of being in touch with nature and even finding God in the natural world is very Transcendental. Cummings was sometimes thought of as writing in this tradition, started by dudes like Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman. Cummings's own father is sometimes described a Transcendental Christian minister, so it makes a lot of sense that this sort of language would pop up here.

a heart of star by him could steer (22)

The speaker takes us even further into outer space with all this talk about stars, as he references a time when sailors had to be totally in tune with the night sky to get where they were going. It's interesting that the speaker draws on a time when people were absolutely dependent on these out-of-this-world wonders to do what they had to do on Earth.

conceiving mind of sun will stand, (26)

Okay, now we're back in our same solar system. Phew, we were getting homesick. Here, the speaker uses one of the most important natural forces of all—the sun—to represent his father's explosively brilliant mind. As in many of Cummings's poems, "my father moved through dooms of love" doesn't present human beings at odds with nature; it shows nature as representing all the things we are. So, you can say that ultimately the poem is an expression of our unity with the natural forces of our world and beyond.

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