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 Read the rest of this entry
‘A Bird came down the Walk’ focuses on a popular theme of Emily Dickinson’s poems: animals. As ever, she looks at them in her own way, offering an idiosyncratic perspective on the bird, in this poem.
A Bird came down the Walk—
He did not know I saw—
He bit an Angleworm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,
And then he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass—
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass—
He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all around— Read the rest of this entry
‘Grief is a Mouse’ by Emily Dickinson (1830-86) explores a range of metaphors for grief, including the idea of grief as a mouse, which ‘chooses Wainscot in the Breast / For His Shy House’. The idea is that grief is deeply felt, but hidden away: like a mouse in the wainscot, we are aware of it continually, but we never (or seldom) see it.
Grief is a Mouse—
And chooses Wainscot in the Breast
For His Shy House—
And baffles quest— Read the rest of this entry