English EP Poetry Test

Poem where the narrator is in his garden while everyone else goes to church; reflects Transcendentalist ideas of finding God in nature. Instead of having a minister lead prayers in a church, the speaker feels like God is the one doing the preaching in this garden
“Some keep the Sabbath going to Church” by emily dickinson

“I keep it, staying at home- with a Bobolink for a Chorister”
“Some keep the Sabbath going to Church” by emily dickinson; The speaker says that his choir is just as fine as the church choir; a “Bobolink” is a kind of bird, and the speaker says that this bird makes up his choir

“and an orchard, for a dome”
“Some keep the Sabbath going to Church” by emily dickinson; While everyone else gets up on a Sunday morning and goes with the group to church, the speaker is all alone in his garden

“Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice- I just wear my wings”
“Some keep the Sabbath going to Church” by emily dickinson; Where people at church have to dress up (a “Surplice” would be a formal robe for a minister), the speaker is less formal, and perhaps closer to God. The speaker wears his “Wings,” perhaps joking that he has angel wings

“So instead of getting to Heaven, at last- im going, all along
“Some keep the Sabbath going to Church” by emily dickinson; suggest that people who go to formal church expect a formal reward of Heaven after years of attendance; he suggests that he’s experiencing a little bit of heaven continually in his garden.

This poem is from the perspective of someone on his deathbed. He’s clearly sick, confused, and slightly out of it. However, the speaker doesn’t seem to be in distress. I think the fact that he focuses on the fly buzzing in the room shows that he isn’t worried about dying; he’s focused on random sounds in the room, like the buzzing of the fly.
“I Heard a fly buzz- when I died ” by emily dickinson

“The stillness in the room-was like stillness in the air- between the heavens of storm”
“I heard a fly buzz- when I died” by emily dickinson; The air in this room also feels heavy, as they are waiting for their loved one to die. Perhaps it also feels humid here, as they are all crammed in this room.

“the eyes around- had wrung them dry- and breathes were gathered firm”
“I heard a fly buzz- when I died” by emily dickinson; it sounds like everyone has cried and grieved, they’ve cried all of their tears, and they are awaiting death

“when the King- be witnessed- in the room”
“I heard a fly buzz- when I died” by emily dickinson; Perhaps Dickinson is saying that God will arrive to take the speaker away

“with blue- uncertain stumbling buzz- between the light- and me”
“I heard a fly buzz- when I died” by emily dickinson; it seems like death isn’t scary—it’s just when the body stops experiencing the senses, like sight and hearing

“and then the windows failed- and then I could not see to see”
“I heard a fly buzz when I died” by emily dickinson; the speaker’s senses just give out as he dies

This poem is about an individual’s place in the community. You know from reading the biography of Dickinson that she chose to stay in her house and only interacted with family
“The soul selects her own society” by emily dickinson

“then- shuts the door- to her divine majority- present no more”
“the soul selects her own society” by emily dickinson; the soul is personified as a queen, that she keeps away from her subjects and shuts the door on them

“unmoved- she notes the chariots- pausing- at her low gate- unmoved- an emperor be kneeling upon her mat”
“The soul selects her own society” by emily dickinson; She doesn’t care about getting to know the other people that come to her gate.

“I’ve known her- from an ample nation- choose one- then- close the valves of her attention- like stone”
“The soul selects her own society” by emily dickinson; her heart is like a rock, The poem says that she will “Choose one”; does that imply that she lets one person in her heart? (l. 10). Or does that line imply that she herself is the one person, that she’s completely alone

this poem is about the process about writing poetry, and that process is compared to living in a huge, expansive house
“I dwell in possibility” by emily dickinson

“A fairer house than prose- more numerous of windows- superior- for doors- of chambers as the cedars- impregnable of the eye”
“I dwell in possibility” by emily dickinson; writing poetry has so many possibilities. You can write about so many subjects, you are not confined by rules of writing, and you can express yourself in so many different ways

“of visitors- the fairest- for occupation- this- the spreading wide my narrow hands- to gather paradise”
“I dwell in possibility” by emily dickinson; Of course she would write with her hands, and she feels like when she writes, she is “spreading wide [her] narrow hands/ To gather Paradise” (l. 11-12). Writing gives her power, and it’s a power to do something that is heavenly for her

Two very different theories about this poem make sense: 1) it’s a poem about depression; or 2) it’s a poem about artistic inspiration.
“there’s a certain slant of light” by emily dickinson;

“there’s a certain slant of light. winter afternoons”
“there’s a certain slant of light” by emily dickinson; 1) might stir that depression 2) inspiration for the depressed artist

“that oppresses, like the heft of cathedral tunes”
“there’s a certain slant of light” by emily dickinson; 1) church music perhaps inspires a negative feeling 2) suggests that this inspiration and desire to write can sometimes be a burden

“heavenly hurt, it gives us – we can find no scar, but internal difference, where meanings, are”
“there’s a certain slant of light” by emily dickinson; 1) With depression, families of those afflicted can be confused because the marks of depression are “internal” and more difficult to understand 2) Inspiration to write comes from the inside

“none may teach it- any- ’tis the seal despair- an imperial affliction sent us of the air”
“there’s a certain slant of light” by emily dickinson; 2) no rational reason why people are good at art, cant be taught. It’s hard to explain where this gift comes from, and it almost seems like it is “sent… of the air”

“when it comes, the landscape listens- shadows- hold their breath- when it goes, ’tis like the distance on the look of death”
“there’s a certain slant of light” by emily dickinson; 1) how depression comes and goes, perhaps with no logical reason 2) this inspiration to write comes and goes without any warning; when it’s gone, the speaker describes the pain that he/she feels, as it’s “like…the look of death”