Study Guide

my father moved through dooms of love Stanza 3

By E. E. Cummings

Stanza 3

Lines 9-10

newly as from unburied which
floats the first who,his april touch

  • Okay, this one gets the award for weirdest so far. To understand it, we have to kind of zoom out first to get a general feeling of what the words bring to our minds. 
  • We notice the word "unburied," which manages to make us think of someone who's alive, while still bringing up the image of a grave. Then we have the idea that Father's "april touch" is affecting someone. 
  • It seems like we're back to similar ideas from the previous stanzas about the speaker's father living life to the fullest. But now it seems like he's helping others do the same. 
  • The phrase "april touch" especially makes us think of this, because we imagine the hand of spring touching the ground and making new flowers sprout. 
  • The seasons—and spring in particular—are a big deal in a lot Cummings poems, so we wonder if that's going to be true of this one.

Lines 11-12

drove sleeping selves to swarm their fates
woke dreamers to their ghostly roots

  • Now, the speaker continues this idea of his father inspiring others. 
  • The phrase "sleeping selves" makes us think of people who don't know who they want to be yet. 
  • When the speaker describes them "swarm[ing] their fates," we imagine these sleepy people seizing their lives for the first time. 
  • In the next line, the speaker now seems to be talking about the "sleeping selves" again, but now calls them "dreamers."
  • He continues the idea of his father inspiring them to live their life by saying that he "woke" them. What's interesting, though, is that he "woke" them to "their ghostly roots," which immediately makes us think of death again. 
  • If the speaker's father was in the business of making people feel alive, why was he going around reminding them of death?
  • Could it be that the speaker is saying that his father reminded people of their spirituality? Or maybe he's saying that his father inspired people to really live before they died.
  • Let's read on…

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