Study Guide

my father moved through dooms of love Stanza 12

By E. E. Cummings

Stanza 12

Lines 45-46

his sorrow was as true as bread:
no liar looked him in the head;

  • Well, it looks like the speaker's father isn't totally happy about dying (can't blame him there).
  • Here, "his sorrow" is described as being "true as bread." This is kind of a weird line—no surprise—but to us it brings up the idea that the father's personal grief over dying was honest and pure, like bread. 
  • It actually reminds us of "his pity was as green as grain" from line 36. (Huh, we guess the speaker really respected various carbohydrates.) 
  • The next line counters the idea of the father's bready truthiness with the fact that "no liar looked him in the head."
  • Could it be that the father's pure sorrow over his death turned him into a human lie detector? We've heard people say that you can arrive at a certain kind of clarity as you approach death. Maybe this line is echoing the sentiment that he's "so naked" (43).
  • As the father marches toward death, he's stripped of all pretensions, and he can see through everybody else's too.

Lines 47-48

if every friend became his foe
he'd laugh and build a world with snow.

  • Dude, this father is seriously tough. 
  • The speaker claims that if every one of his friends stabbed him in the back, he'd just laugh at them. Not only would he laugh, he'd go play in the snow. (Take that, foes.)
  • Well, this "build a world with snow" thing is probably a little deeper than that. For one, it brings back the seasons thing. It's snowing, so we must be in winter, right? Death is very near. 
  • Notice, too, that the father isn't just out there building snow dinosaurs or whatever. He's making a whole "world."
  • Not only that, but he's building it out of snow, a thing which can represent death. This guy doesn't just laugh in the face of death; he creates new things with its substance. It's kind of like the amazing singing-morning-out-of-night ability we heard about back in line 3.

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