Study Guide

my father moved through dooms of love Stanza 9

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Stanza 9

Lines 33-34

Scorning the Pomp of must and shall
my father moved through dooms of feel;

  • The speaker seems to be saying that his father looked down on ceremony for ceremony's sake. Or maybe he wasn't into traditions that people just did because they were traditional.
  • We get this from the first line here. "Pomp" means ceremony, so if it's the ceremony of "must" and "shall," it could be the pomp of things that have to be done only because people say they have to.
  • Notice that Cummings makes words into nouns that aren't normally, like "must" and shall," which makes their inherent meanings more powerful.
  • And, oh wow, we've got some more capitalized words here: "Scorning" and "Pomp." The capitalization of these words makes them pop for the reader.
  • It's like we can feel the father's scathing glance at these pompous ceremonies and pompous people who insist on them.
  • With the second line, Cummings again brings back the "moves through" thing and even adds "dooms" again from the first stanza. This time it's "dooms of feel" instead of love, but it reminds us of the first line a lot.
  • Feel could = love, right? At least, if we think about it as referencing feelings it could.

Lines 35-36

his anger was as right as rain
his pity was as green as grain

  • Cummings has fun with a popular saying here: "right as rain," which means that everything's alright. He saves it from cliché, though, by using in to describe the father's anger.
  • The way the phrase is used makes us think of the father's anger at all that "Pomp" as being totally right on.
  • We get a bit more parallelism in the second line, echoing the structure of the first, but making a much more obscure statement.
    We get that he's contrasting the anger of the father with the pity, but why is it "green as grain"? Is he saying that it was good and wholesome like fresh grain?
  • Or did he just want something that rhymed with rain, making a rhyming couplet?
    It's not entirely clear, but we're guessing that E.E. had a definite meaning in mind.
  • Oh, before we move on, don't miss the alliteration here, with the repeated R sounds in the first line and Gr sounds in the second. Check out "Sound Check" for more on this.

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