Emily Dickinson Poems

The narrator witnesses a battle and comes to the realization that only the losing side completely understands success through the sheer passion and desperation that comes from watching the winning side; the speaker of the poem is suggesting that people long for and desire the things that they don’t have.

The want for nectar is an example of that. Also, the dying man comprehends victory better than the winning army.

Success is counted sweetest; Emily Dickinson

The narrator describes a euphoric feeling of being with a person, potentially a lover; This poem is an extended exclamation and it expresses a strong passion to be reunited with the speaker’s lover, or with someone whom he/she enjoys wild nights with. Could also be read as a highly sexual poem.
Wild Nights – Wild Nights!; Emily Dickinson

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the slant of light alludes to the speaker’s internal despair; even something as simple as afternoon light can be a reminder of pain.
There’s a certain Slant of light; Emily Dickinson

The narrator compares her mental state to a funeral.

At the beginning of the poem her head is pounding, like a drum. The tone is sad and depressed. At the end of the poem the narrator rejoins the world and seams to be in a positively altered state; the funeral alludes to despair, anguish, and striving to live against the burden of mortality. The last stanza describes the poem’s speaker snapping back to reality

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain; Emily Dickinson

This poem is musical in its defined, staccato rhythm, which asserts a light jovial tone.

The narrator associates “Nobody” with an individual in the private sphere and “Somebody” with a public figure. The narrator prefers to be “Nobody”, as she can live on her own terms. “Somebody” must address the public in a manner that carries little significance; the poem’s speaker is basking in the greatness of being unrecognized and unremarkable. The croaking of the frog alludes to public figures repeatedly telling everyone their names.

I’m Nobody! Who are you?; Emily Dickinson

This poem describes the human tendency to choose a deliberate few to spend your life with while shutting others, no matter whom, out; The soul is regarded as royalty choosing who comes in her gate. The poem suggests that you must trust your soul to select your “Society,” or the people you want to surround yourself with
The Soul selects her own Society; Emily Dickinson

This poem describes gleefully, with some sarcasm involved, of how liberating she thinks it can be to worship God on one’s own instead of being constraine by the Church’s rules; In this poem, she likens her own home to a church to offer that worshipping God at home is just the same as doing so in church.
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church; Emily Dickinson

The poet effectively conveys the full range of emotions that come after a traumatic event, including numbness, dehumanization, passiveness, submissiveness, and danger; This is a confused poem about the confusing feelings that come after experiencing a great tragedy. The images and subjects used all contradict each other to show the internal conflict of this kind of pain.
After great pain, a formal feeling comes; Emily Dickinson

This poem puts into perspective what really is “madness”; It shows the reader how depending on the viewpoint and person viewing, the realest kind of sanity as our world proclaims can actually be insanity, and vice versa; In this poem, the poet claims that people who seems crazy are sane, and sane people are the real crazy ones, saying that anyone who dissents is treated as a crazy person.
Much Madness is divinest Sense; Emily Dickinson

This poem is hard to summarize as there are so many possible interpretations- a lonely and under-appreciated artist can plead to the rest of the world that does not agree with her creative vision, a person nearing death who is looking back on her life; a letter to nature, professing the speaker’s blind trust in nature’s invisible hands, etc.
This is my letter to the World; Emily Dickinson

This poem imparts the speaker’s dread of death in multiple stages: the calm before the storm, the lull between upheavals, cutting worldly attachments, the exhausted relatives, decay, etc; Using the “Fly” as the metaphor and the common aspects in the room to complement and show the casual distraction, the poem illustrates death by portraying the fly as something that blocks the natural beauty (as seen by its positioning between the speaker and the light) and using its connotations (decomposable/ death) to add to the effect.

I heard a Fly buzz – when I died; Emily Dickinson

This poem had nothing to do with a dog — she used the scene of her morning walk with her dog to expand her imaginary perception of the sea as an extension of love. The narrator takes her dog for a walk to the ocean, which symbolizes an overwhelming, new presence (potentially a lover). She returns to the comfort of town and the ocean remains distant. She used the unpredictable nature of the ocean and the waves to depict the uncertainty of love and sexuality.
I started Early – Took my Dog; Emily Dickinson

The poet focuses on two opposites- mortality and immortality, and personifies death as a gentle guide; the poem comes to the conclusion that death is not the end of mortality, but the beginning of immortality; The poem contained symbols that, in a sense, hallmarked her journey to death (carriage, sunset) as means of foreshadowing the coming of an end. However, at the end of the poem in the last stanza, we learn that the speaker has been dead for a century now and is seeking an eternity after life.
Because I could not stop for Death; Emily Dickinson

The poem uses contradictory images (bustle and solemnest) to show the conflicting feeling one experiences after a loved one’s death – how one may have a lot of emotions on the inside but remains cold and calm on the exterior – and this love can only be re-expressed once there is eternity because of the pain right now.

The Bustle in a House; Emily Dickinson

This slightly ironic poem proclaims that when truth is told, every aspect of it must be told…

but in a way that is acceptable the listener. Truth is ultimately a non-physical force, just like the light, that mankind experiences but can’t grasp its full extent, and although people want “the truth,” too much of it can be harmful (“blind the man”)

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant; Emily Dickinson