Emily Dickinson is a poet whose work is characterized by its extraordinary use of language and its profound exploration of themes such as love, death, and the nature of existence. One aspect of Dickinson's work that has received particular attention from scholars and readers is her treatment of grief, which she often expresses with a subtle and nuanced touch.
In many of her poems, Dickinson explores the experience of grief in a way that is both deeply personal and universal. She writes about the pain of loss, the sense of confusion and isolation that often accompanies grief, and the ways in which people cope with their sorrow. At the same time, she also captures the ways in which grief can be transformative, leading to a deeper understanding of oneself and the world.
One of the striking features of Dickinson's writing about grief is the way she conveys the sense of its imperceptibility. Grief is often depicted as a loud, overwhelming emotion that consumes the person experiencing it. But Dickinson's poems often present grief as something that is more subtle and elusive. It is a feeling that can be felt deeply, but that is also difficult to put into words or to fully understand.
This quality of imperceptibility is particularly evident in poems like "After great pain, a formal feeling comes" and "I felt a funeral, in my brain." In both of these poems, Dickinson describes the experience of grief as a kind of numbness or detachment, as if the emotions of the moment have been temporarily suspended. She writes of the "formal feeling" that follows great pain, and of the sense of disconnection that comes with the experience of grief.
At the same time, however, Dickinson also suggests that this imperceptibility is only superficial. Beneath the surface, grief is a powerful and enduring emotion that shapes the way we see the world and ourselves. It is a force that can change us in profound ways, and that can lead us to a deeper understanding of the mysteries of life and death.
In this way, Emily Dickinson's writing about grief is both deeply personal and universally resonant. She captures the complex and often elusive nature of this emotion, and offers a window into the human experience of loss and sorrow. Through her poems, she invites readers to explore the depths of their own grief, and to find meaning and connection in the midst of pain and suffering.
Emily Dickinson, "As Imperceptibly as Grief" — Poetry Letters by Huck Gutman (2023)
Dickinson tackled universal themes that were deeply personal to her, including isolation, identity, death, love, and family. Just as with music, which so often most of us cannot explain, we can hear the rhythms and repetitions and riffs. She then brings up different times of the day, referring to the relative quiet of twilight and afternoon. We humans get no grace. She begins, in the poem we are about to read, with noticing that the days are growing shorter as summer declines into autumn.
It is a reminder of the value of human connection and the importance of cherishing the time we have with those we love. The seasonal shift Dickinson is describing is one of transition, and more specifically, loss. But although we should not ever begin by seeking deeper meanings, some of the things we have to say to one another, some of the most important things we have to say, are of a complexity that is greater than we can encounter in daily speech. The phrase is an oxymoron; that is, grace is conventionally the opposite of harrowing, yet here it is conjoined with it. In this poem, I dare say, most poets would give their right arm to have written any of the two line phrases.
Why did Emily Dickinson write As Imperceptibly as Grief?
Despite unfavorable reviews and skepticism of her literary prowess during the late 19th and early 20th century, critics now consider Dickinson to be a major American poet. By the 1860s she lived in almost complete isolation. Almost all poetry has messages to deliver — lots of them, profound and diverse as stars. Dickinson requires, as I have just said, very attentive reading. Here, the reader finds that no sunrise or sunset is without a greater meaning.
Were we more courageous and strong-willed, less sentimental, more open to the actuality of our experience, more attentive to each moment, we would see what she does. Give me insight into to-day, and you may have the antique and future worlds. But its approach, that Emily Dickinson explored dimensions of human experience that no one has ever explored with equal tenacity and close observation, seems to me an extraordinarily apt way to read Dickinson. First, because each stanza is a sentence; second, because in each stanza the second and fourth line rhyme. What would we really know the meaning of? So I was more attuned to word repetition than I had ever been.
⭐ As imperceptibly as grief poem analysis. Emily Dickinson As Imperceptibly As Grief Analysis. 2022
Despite the pain and sadness that grief brings, the poem ultimately suggests that it is a natural part of the human experience and that we will eventually be able to move on and find healing. Both the sun and the month of August are burning low: summer is ending. As imperceptibly as Grief Literary Elements And she gets to that truth through language that requires us to listen very carefully and to think even more carefully about the words she has chosen. Franklin in two volumes Cambridge, Mass. Summary of the As Imperceptibly as Grief The summer passed away without me noticing, just like my grief.
As imperceptibly as grief Poem Summary and Analysis
Give me insight into to-day, and you may have the antique and future worlds. But although we should not ever begin by seeking deeper meanings, some of the things we have to say to one another, some of the most important things we have to say, are of a complexity that is greater than we can encounter in daily speech. That is what Dickinson does. I did what any graduate student would do and went to the library to take out critical studies of Dickinson. I love Whitman, Wordsworth, Williams: None of them is as hard for me to come to terms with as Dickinson. This is one of her great themes. In some senses, it is accurate.
And grief lapses away just as summer does. It is possible for one to be mesmerized by her poem and not get her plight. It can remind us of the importance of human connection and the value of reaching out to others in times of need. Let me begin with a story. These sounds recur throughout the poem, creating another series of repetitions that tie the lines together into one whole. Put metaphysically, we are betrayed by time, time in which fullness declines; in more concrete terms, time is represented by the glorious days of summer which slip into declining light, declining warmth and declining fruitfulness.
Because I knew it was like a guest who would soon be gone. However, it really comes to the fore of the piece when the speaker imagines summer as a personified guest at a party. Her departure is predetermined and unavoidable. It can also serve as a reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of cherishing the time we have with our loved ones. In the poem, life is said to be an unused, loaded gun which means that it has potential or power that is ready and waiting to be used.
Emily Dickinson, As Imperceptibly as Grief — Poetry Letters by Huck Gutman
There is, of course, no answer: the poem is about both. That difference she refers to? Dickinson lived all her life in the town in which she was born, Amherst, Massachusetts. And it will only be painful to hang on and not let go. As Imperceptibly as Grief Emily Dickinson As imperceptibly as Grief The Summer lapsed away— Too imperceptible at last To seem like Perfidy— A Quietness distilled As Twilight long begun, Or Nature spending with herself Sequestered Afternoon— The Dusk drew earlier in— The Morning foreign shone— A courteous, yet harrowing Grace, As Guest, that would be gone— And thus, without a Wing Or service of a Keel Our Summer made her light escape Into the Beautiful. But for today, Emily Dickinson. The first stanza is further enriched when we think of grief: it too ebbs away.
It can change our attitudes, our outlook on life, and even the way we see the world around us. Perhaps we're most drawn to her poetry because Dickinson poured so much of herself into her body of work, and because the body of work had no intended audience but her own eyes. The poet is missing the summer which passed away unnoticed. In conclusion, As imperceptibly as grief is a powerful and poignant exploration of the nature of loss and the way it can sneak up on us and take hold. I once had a teacher, Ennis Rees, a modest poet and a highly regarded translator of Homer, who said that every poem by Dickinson had a line or two that any poet would give his right arm to have written.