"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all" - Emily Dickinson
The American poet, Emily Dickinson, was born December 10, 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts. Dickinson attended school at the Amherst Academy and the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. Although she was out frequently due to sickness and depression, Emily was an excellent student. It is unknown why she departed from the school in 1848, many people believe it was because of her fragile emotional state. Dickinson began writing in her teenage years, and in her spate time, she studied botany and compiled a vast herbarium.
Poems by Emily Dickinson
Because I could not stop for Death – (479)
Because I could not stop for Death – He kindly stopped for me – The Carriage held but just Ourselves – And Immortality.
We slowly drove – He knew no haste And I had put away My labor and my leisure too, For His Civility –
We passed the School, where Children strove At Recess – in the Ring – We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain – We passed the Setting Sun –
Or rather – He passed Us – The Dews drew quivering and Chill – For only Gossamer, my Gown – My Tippet – only Tulle –
We paused before a House that seemed A Swelling of the Ground – The Roof was scarcely visible – The Cornice – in the Ground –
Since then – 'tis Centuries – and yet Feels shorter than the Day I first surmised the Horses' Heads Were toward Eternity –
I chose this poem because it showed the speaker of the poem communicating from beyond the grave, describing her journey with death, with a personal insight, from life to afterlife. This poem shows death as non frightening or intimidating-but, as courageous and gentle, leading to eternity. As death picks the speaker up in her carriage, she sees it as showing kindness since she was too busy for make time for him
The poem uses Iambic meter, where in the first and third line of each stanza is made up of eight syllables, or four feet. A foot is made up of one stressed and unstressed syllable. The second and fourth lines of each stanza follow the same iambic pattern, but, since it has less syllables (& three feet) it's called an iambic trimeter. The rhyme Dickinson used in the poem above doesn't follow any particular pattern.
Themes found in this poem include mortality, immorality, spirituality, and love. The theme I found to be the major one of this poem is mortality. I believe that it's all about Dickinson's attitude towards death and what the actual day of her death was like. In the line "I had to put away my labor and my leisure too-for his civility", shows how Emily paints a picture of the day that doesn't seem too far away because she isn't afraid of death and accepts it.
The theme of this poem, as well as my connection, is similar to the story read earlier this semester "This is what is means to say Phoenix, Arizona". In the story read earlier this semester, there was a jackrabbit Thomas and Victor came across that committed suicide because it was lonely in the desert-meaning the jackrabbit was in control of his own life. This is connected to Emily Dickinson because it shows how she is in control of her life, accepting the fact that her death is approaching and becoming prepared for it.
Throughout the poem "Because I could not stop for Death" as well as "In this short Life that only lasts an hour", Emily Dickinson uses characteristics from the Realistic period by discussing a real life event. This poem conveys the reality of life, and the speaker is reflecting people in everyday life.
In this short Life that only lasts an hour (1292)
In this short Life that only lasts an hour How much - how little - is within our power
The main question of this short but meaningful poem is how much of our life are we in control of. When she, Emily Dickinson, says that life only lasts an hour-understatement is used. Emily could mean that she doesn't feel in control of her life, or it could mean spiritual in the sense that life is short compared to eternity and God has control of most of our life, even if we do not realize it.
The last word of each line rhymes together. There is no meter, but, there is a metaphor used to show how quickly times go by-our lives don't really last an hour.
This poem also is referenced back to "This is what it means to say Phoenix, Arizona" because Thomas knows how short life can be, which is why he didn't hesitate to live life the way he wanted. He took all the chances he got to fulfill his dreams and although he may not of gotten everything he wanted to do done, everything that would make him happy got done.