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Dickinson’s Poetry

Emily Dickinson

“I died for Beauty—but was scarce...”

“After great pain, a formal feeling comes—...”

“I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—...”

Summary

The speaker says that she died for Beauty, but she was hardly adjusted to her tomb before a man who died for Truth was laid in a tomb next to her. When the two softly told each other why they died, the man declared that Truth and Beauty are the same, so that he and the speaker were “Brethren.” The speaker says that they met at night, “as Kinsmen,” and talked between their tombs until the moss reached their lips and covered up the names on their tombstones.

Form

This poem follows many of Dickinson’s typical formal patterns—the ABCB rhyme scheme, the rhythmic use of the dash to interrupt the flow—but has a more regular meter, so that the first and third lines in each stanza are iambic tetrameter, while the second and fourth lines are iambic trimeter, creating a four-three-four-three stress pattern in each stanza.

Commentary

This bizarre, allegorical death fantasy recalls Keats (“Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty,” from Ode on a Grecian Urn), but its manner of presentation belongs uniquely to Dickinson. In this short lyric, Dickinson manages to include a sense of the macabre physicality of death (“Until the Moss had reached our lips—”), the high idealism of martyrdom (“I died for Beauty. . . One who died for Truth”), a certain kind of romantic yearning combined with longing for Platonic companionship (“And so, as Kinsmen, met a Night—”), and an optimism about the afterlife (it would be nice to have a like-minded friend) with barely sublimated terror about the fact of death (it would be horrible to lie in the cemetery having a conversation through the walls of a tomb). As the poem progresses, the high idealism and yearning for companionship gradually give way to mute, cold death, as the moss creeps up the speaker’s corpse and her headstone, obliterating both her capacity to speak (covering her lips) and her identity (covering her name).

The ultimate effect of this poem is to show that every aspect of human life—ideals, human feelings, identity itself—is erased by death. But by making the erasure gradual—something to be “adjusted” to in the tomb—and by portraying a speaker who is untroubled by her own grim state, Dickinson creates a scene that is, by turns, grotesque and compelling, frightening and comforting. It is one of her most singular statements about death, and like so many of Dickinson’s poems, it has no parallels in the work of any other writer.

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The Brain is than the Sky' Dickinson crossword

by crosswords1, September 28, 2013

This time, we got the following crossword puzzle clue : The Brain is than the Sky' Dickinson that also known as The Brain is than the Sky' Dickinson 5 letters . First, we gonna look for more hints to the The Brain is than the Sky' Dickinson crossword puzzle . Then we will collect all the require information and for solving The Brain is than the Sky' Dickinson crossword . In the final, we get all the possible answers for the this crossword puzzle definition.
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Hope poem analysis

by Nerradnahc, February 21, 2014

What is hope? Hope is what gives someone the feeling that they still can succeed even when everything is against them. It gives someone the will to go on even when there is only a small chance. In the poem “Hope” the poet Emily Dickinson describes hope as an never ending greatness that “perches in the soul”, it’s inside you and keeps you warm. Hope can not be put down easily and never ask for anything even in tough times. In this poem, Emily Dickinson describes hope as a lively, confident bird that go against chillest land and stra... Read more

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Biblical Allusion

by 14elusky, April 13, 2014

I think it's possible that this poem has a biblical allusion when it refers to the bird. Dickinson was raised in the transcendentalist era, and there was a lot of criticism oriented around the bible. The allusion could be that Jesus was said to give bread to people of poverty. He then told them not to eat the bread without giving the crumbs to the bird. I think this relates to the poem because man and nature was seen as one, while now they are considered to be vastly divided.

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