21 pages 42 minutes read

E. E. Cummings

[love is more thicker than forget]

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1939

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Symbols & Motifs

The Sea

The speaker uses powerful symbols drawn from nature to help create the definition of love. For the speaker, nature is reassuringly present. It is available as teacher to anyone whose senses are alert to its beauty, whose heart is attuned to its richness, and whose soul is open to its meaning. Because the poem seeks to define an abstract, using the sea as a frame of symbolic reference helps clarify the insights the speaker wants to share.

Love, the speaker argues, is immediate, as present, as available as the sea itself, keeping in mind the planet is some 75% water. The sea thus suggests that love is not some rare and special event—it is here, there, all around. In the first stanza, the poem assures that love is as frequent as “a wave is wet” (Line 3). The metaphor sets up a relationship that celebrates the sheer availability of love, how easy it is to fall under its tonic spell.

Later, the speaker again draws on the symbol of the sea to suggest that love is as a well: deep, emotionally and spiritually complex. Love cannot die, cannot vanish. Much like the sea, it resists being un-being. In suggesting the sea is deeper than the sea itself, the speaker uses the sea as symbol of emotional depth, how love, like the sea, has a bright and playful surface but extends into uncharted and unexplored depths.