E.E. Cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing by E.E. Cummings

‘i thank You God for most this amazing’ by E.E. Cummings is addressed to God and expresses a speaker’s thanks for being allowed to exist in the world.

The poem takes the form of a prayer, one that alludes to a single person’s spiritual awakening. They have a new appreciation of nature and that they get to live in and experience the beautiful, infinite world. ‘i thank You God for most this amazing is one of Cummings’ more straightforward poems. It is reasonably easy to interpret, despite the poet’s use of inversion, in a way that many of his later poems are not. 

i thank You God for most this amazing by E.E. Cummings


Summary

‘i thank You God for most this amazing’ by E.E. Cummings is a prayer of thanks directed at God regarding his creation of the world. 

In the first lines of this poem, the speaker begins by thanking God for “this amazing / day.” They feel reinvigorated in their appreciation of the natural world and use the fourteen lines of this poem to express that in the form of a prayer. They feel as though they died and are “alive again today” and can feel the beauty of “life,” “love,” “wings,” and “of the gay / great happening illimitably earth.” 

The speaker concludes the poem by acknowledging that some human beings doubt God’s existence. They are people who have not had the same spiritual awakening that the speaker has. Their eyes and ears are not awake. 

You can read the full poem here

i thank You God for most this amazing‘ Meaning 

i thank You God for most this amazing‘ expresses a speaker’s firm belief in God and God’s creation. They have had a spiritual reawakening which has allowed them to see the world as a beautiful product of God’s thoughtful hand. They spend the lines expressing their gratitude for everything they have and everything they get to see, hear, smell, etc. 

Detailed Analysis 

Stanza One 

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

In the first lines of the poem, Cummings used the line that came to be utilized as the title of the poem. The speaker thanks God for “most this amazing / day” and for the “leaping greenly spirits of trees.” They are trying to describe the feelings they’re experiencing when they step out into the natural world and see the light hitting the trees, making it appear as though the tree’s spirits are leaping into the sky. 

They continue to describe the world, suggesting that the sky is a “blue true dream.” The world is depicted in an idealized and dream-like way. The trees are green, the sky is blue, and the world is likely. They are looking at the world with what some might describe as a child’s eyes. Everything is full of beauty and wonder. They thank God for the infinite, the “natural,” and the “yes.” The world grows and expands in ways that a single person can’t comprehend. The speaker feels this and is grateful for it. 

Stanza Two 

(i who have died am alive again today,
(…)
great happening illimitably earth)

The second stanza is contained within parentheses. The poet refrains from using capitalization or end-punctuation within this stanza. Cummings writes that the speaker is someone who has “died” and is “alive again today, / and this is the sun’s birthday.” They feel reborn today as though their soul has metaphorically died and then been reinvigorated by the world, along with the sun. 

It’s not only the speaker’s soul’s rebirth that the poet is marking. It’s also the birthday of “life,” “love,” and “wings.” It’s likely that within these lines the speaker was considering their new appreciation for the natural world and God. The love they describe can be interpreted as their love for God and God’s creation. They feel it as an important part of their being now. 

The earth is “illimitable,” or limitless. It has no limit to the life that can bloom and flourish on its surface. The speaker maintains their celebratory and appreciative tone in these lines. It is easy to imagine their voice filled with pride and joy for the world in which they get to live. 

Stanza Three

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
(…)
doubt unimaginable You?

The third stanza is the final quatrain of the poem. Here, the poet again addresses God and his power. They asks how God created humanity from nothing, imbuing them with the senses of “tasting touching hearing seeing / breathing.” They are appreciating their senses and marveling at the fact that they exist among human beings at all. Humanity came from nothing and was formed by God’s hand, they say in lines two and three. There’s no way that when one analyzes the existence of human beings, the speaker implies, that doubt could truly exist. But, they also suggest, people do not see the world as the speaker is at this moment and so have nothing to base their faith on. Doubt does creep in. 

Stanza Four 

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

The final couplet is contained within parentheses and demonstrates an interesting use of repetition. The poet begins each line with an example of anaphora and describes the speaker’s senses, specifically their ears and eyes. They notes that the “ears of [thier] ears awake” and the “eyes of [their] eyes are opened.” 

This somewhat cryptic sounding final image hints at how they are now fully aware of God’s creation and God’s hand around them. The speaker’s spiritual eyes and ears are open, allowing them to use the senses God gave them to see the world clearly. 

Themes 

Throughout this poem, Cummings engages with a few themes. They include the natural beauty of the world and spirituality. The speaker has had a spiritual rebirth at the beginning of the poem. Now, with newly opened eyes and ears, they are experiencing the world in a new way. This inspires them to thank God for everything he created and for allowing humanity to exist among the “infinite.” 

Structure and Form 

‘i thank You God for most this amazing’ by E.E. Cummings is a four-stanza poem that is divided into sets of quatrains and one concluding couplet. The poem is written with a simple rhyme scheme of ABAB in the first two stanzas. In the third, the second and fourth lines do not rhyme. In the final quatrain, the poet uses a half-rhyme with the words “and” and “opened.” This type of pattern is unusual within Cummings verse. He is far better known for writing in free verse

Readers will likely be more familiar with his use, or lack thereof, of capitalization and traditional punctuation. There is only one example of end punctuation within the entire poem (at the end) and only three capitalized words, “You,” “God,” and “You,” again at the end of the poem. 

Literary Devices 

Throughout this poem, Cummings makes use of several literary devices. These include but are not limited to:

  • Caesura: occurs when a poet inserts a pause in a line of verse. This could be through the use of punctuation or through a natural pause in the meter. For example, “and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth” and “of all nothing—human merely being.”
  • Alliteration: occurs when the poet repeats the same consonant sound at the beginning of multiple lines. For example, “birthday” and “birth” in line two of the second stanza. 
  • Repetition: occurs when the poet repeats one or more elements of a poem. This could be the structure, an image, a word, a phrase, or more. In this case, the poet demonstrates repetition in the final two lines. He writes: “(now the ears of my ears awake and / now the eyes of my eyes are opened).”
  • Personification: occurs when the poet imbues something non-human with human characteristics. For example, “for the leaping greenly spirits of trees.”


FAQs 

Why did Cummings write, ‘i thank You God for most his amazing?’ 

Cummings wrote this poem to share a speaker’s heightened opinion of God and creation. They are amazed at the world around them, and within the fourteen lines of this contemporary sonnet, express their love and admiration for God. 

Who is the speaker in ‘i thank You God for most his amazing?’

The speaker is unknown. They remain nameless throughout the poem. Many will interpret the speaker as Cummings himself. But, without a specific note that these are the same thoughts that Cummings shared, it’s better to consider the speaker as a persona Cummings invented.

What is the theme of ‘i thank You God for most his amazing?’

The main themes of this poem are the beauty of the natural world and God’s power/creation. The speaker spends the lines thanking God for creating everything they’re now seeing with newly opened eyes. They feel awed by everything around them and completely amazed that they get to live in such a lively and beautiful world. 

What is the tone of ‘i thank You God for most his amazing?’

The tone is appreciative and celebratory. The speaker spends the fourteen lines marveling at God’s creation and their small role. They have newly opened eyes and ears that they’re using to see the green of the trees and the blue of the sky.

Why is the poem ‘i thank You God for most this amazing’ said to be a prayer?

It is often described as a prayer because the lines are addressed to God. The speaker spends the poem thanking God for the natural world and the fact that they get to live within it. 

What does the speaker thank God for?

In ‘i thank You God for most his amazing,’ the speaker thanks God for the trees, sky, and the senses that human beings are imbued with. They thank God for creating the world and allowing human beings to exist within it. 


Similar Poetry 

Readers who enjoyed this piece should also consider reading some other E.E. Cummings poems. For example:

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Emma Baldwin Poetry Expert
About
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues through analyzing poetry on Poem Analysis.
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