‘A Long, Long Sleep’: A Poem by Emily Dickinson

This short poem by one of American literature’s greatest poets is actually about death – but then death is probably Emily Dickinson’s greatest theme. The ‘long, long sleep’ is the sleep of death: death is imagined as an unbroken slumber for centuries, where the sleeper doesn’t ‘once look up for noon’.

A long — long Sleep — A famous — Sleep —
That makes no show for Morn —
By Stretch of Limb — or stir of Lid —
An independent One —

Was ever idleness like This?
Upon a Bank of Stone
To bask the Centuries away —
Nor once look up — for Noon?

If you enjoyed ‘A Long, Long Sleep’, you might also like our pick of Emily Dickinson’s finest poems.


  1. One of my favourite poets. Thank you.

  2. Pingback: 10 of the Best Poems about Sleep | Interesting Literature