“i carry your heart with me” is structured like a traditional English sonnet. Sonnets typically consist of three quatrains and a closing couplet. At first glance, however, Cummings’s poem may not actually look like a sonnet. For example, the poem has fifteen lines, rather than the sonnet’s standard fourteen. Yet if we consider the extremely short fifth line to be a kind of bridge between two distinct stanzas, the poem’s essential fourteen-line structure becomes clear. Even if we agree to see “i carry your heart with me” as a fourteen-line poem, that alone doesn’t confirm its sonnet-like structure. Indeed, in some ways its resemblance to a traditional sonnet is merely that: a resemblance. For instance, though Cummings doesn’t use iambic pentameter, which is the traditional meter for the English sonnet, he does write lines that have five clear, strong beats. Thus, he approximates iambic pentameter without actually using it. In other instances, however, the resemblance to a traditional sonnet is much stronger. For instance, although the poem features occasional slant rhymes, “i carry your heart with me” strictly deploys the conventional rhyme scheme used for English sonnets: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.

Perhaps most important, however, is the poem’s thematic structure. The English sonnet typically features a volta, or “turn,” which involves a shift in the speaker’s thought or overall argument. In the case of “i carry your heart with me,” a turn arguably occurs in the transition between lines 9 and 10. The first nine lines, which form two quatrains linked by the short fifth line, all emphasize the same basic point about the speaker’s devotion to their beloved. The main sentiment of the first quatrain is that the speaker carries the beloved’s heart in their own heart. The speaker develops this sense of intimate closeness in the second quatrain by insisting that their beloved represents the only world they need. In line 10, however, the speaker’s focus shifts from intimacy and insularity to a much more expansive and cosmic vision:

     here is the deepest secret nobody knows
     (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
     and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
     higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
     and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

Whereas the first two quatrains stress proximity, here in lines 10–14 the main idea centers on how a certain kind of deep wonder maintains the vast distances between stars. Paradoxically, this deep wonder also enables the intimacy the speaker shares with their beloved, which they suggest in their final return to the romantic union: “i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)” (line 15).