A Pretty a Day

The great American poet E. E. Cummings’ is known for writing using a strange, distinguished writing style for which he is considered to be a poetic rebel.  “A Pretty a Day” is a poem where he explores how the womankind deals and comes to terms with their loss of virginity.

A pretty a day


A pretty a day
(and every fades)
is here and away
(but born are maids
to flower an hour
in all,all)

o yes to flower
until so blithe
a doer a wooer
some limber and lithe
some very fine mower
a tall;tall

some jerry so very
(and nellie and fan)
some handsomest harry
(and sally and nan
they tremble and cower
so pale:pale)

for betty was born
to never say nay
but lucy could learn
and lily could pray
and fewer were shyer
than doll. doll

Analysis of Cummings’ “A Pretty a Day”

The poem “A Pretty a Day” by the twentieth century American poet e. e. cummings persists with his eccentric writing and chooses not to capitalize any letters. The early poems of  E. E. Cummings is known to have sexual subjects. This poem too is about the sexuality of  women and how they choose to carry it around.

The poem explores the theme of women’s sexual transition. The poem seems simple in its ditty words and is designed to follow a singsong fashion, however, it conceals a more sophisticated meaning which is underneath the ambiguity that is the essence of the writer. The title of the poem is the first line of the poem.

By “A Pretty a Day” the poet means a woman pretty as the day and the line that follows “is here and away” talks about the fleeting beauty of that woman. Next he refers to women as flowers and apprises about the rich profusion of said flowers. In the second stanza he says that the flowers are being cut down by the mowers conveying the domination of women by the society/men or the “mower” as he has referred to them. He stipulates the “mower” as being tall insinuating the sway that men have over women.

During the third stanza Cummings couples each man with two women to show that a man can indulge himself in the company of multiple women, whereas, it is unbecoming of a woman to do the same. Throughout the poem he names four women – perhaps these four women have four different sexual natures.

In the last stanza Cummings talks about the willfulness with which certain women relent to men’s indulgence. Some can never say nay; some gradually chose to accept it; some have a hard time coming to terms with it; and then there are those that dwell in perpetual denial.