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Short poem

E. E. Cummings (1894-1962)

here is little Effie's head

              1here is little Effie's head
              2whose brains are made of gingerbread
              3when the judgment day comes
              4God will find six crumbs

              5stooping by the coffinlid
              6waiting for something to rise
              7as the other somethings did--
              8you imagine His surprise

              9bellowing through the general noise
            10Where is Effie who was dead?
            11--to God in a tiny voice,
            12i am may the first crumb said

            13whereupon its fellow five
            14crumbs chuckled as if they were alive
            15and number two took up the song,
            16might i'm called and did no wrong

            17cried the third crumb, i am should
            18and this is my little sister could
            19with our big brother who is would
            20don't punish us for we were good;

            21and the last crumb with some shame
            22whispered unto God, my name
            23is must and with the others i've
            24been Effie who isn't alive

            25just imagine it I say
            26God amid a monstrous din
            27watch your step and follow me
            28stooping by Effie's little, in

            29(want a match or can you see?)
            30which the six subjunctive crumbs
            31twitch like mutilated thumbs:
            32picture His peering biggest whey

            33coloured face on which a frown
            34puzzles, but I know the way--
            35(nervously Whose eyes approve
            36the blessed while His ears are crammed

            37with the strenuous music of
            38the innumerable capering damned)
            39--staring wildly up and down
            40the here we are now judgment day

            41cross the threshold have no dread
            42lift the sheet back in this way.
            43here is little Effie's head
            44whose brains are made of gingerbread

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: & (New York: privately printed, 1925): 47-48. Firmage A4a, Berg Collection, New York Public Library. No. 112. (Signed by e.e.c. with autograph corrections.)
First publication date: 1925
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2000.
Recent editing: 2:2001/12/12

Form: quatrains of variable-length lines
Rhyme: a blending of aabb, abab, abba, abca, etc.

Other poems by E. E. Cummings