“maggie and millie 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”

E.E. Cummings, “10 (maggie and milly and molly and may)”

Another poem from my singing past, like most of Cummings’ work pithy and frolicsome. He gives us the friends’ joy and delight of discovery. This is a particularly effective use of his anarchic and frenetic style, because we are kept off balance by the verse, uncertain what will come next, but brought home with a satisfying touchdown point at finish.