Poetry: Because I could not stop for Death

‘Because I could not stop for Death’ is a poem by Emily Dickinson, that was published posthumously. The poem presents Death as a gentleman, who has come to take the interlocutor to her grave.

Because I could not stop for Death

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 –

– Emily Dickinson

Did you like the poem? What do you think about the symbolic references to various phases of life in the 3rd stanza? And did you notice that the ‘swelling of the ground‘ is actually grave? Do share your thoughts For the Love of Poetry.  Thanks.


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9 thoughts on “Poetry: Because I could not stop for Death

  1. I adore Emily Dickinson and her poetry, which is strange because although she and I have agoraphobia and writing poetry in common, our poetry is poles apart, and I’m talking about the chalk pole and the cheese pole. For years I have resisted buying a collection of her poems, because coming upon them serendipitously always seemed to be the right way to do it. It strikes me now that this is one of her most famous poems. And yet I only recognise the first two lines…
    I’m approaching 60. Perhaps therefore I should, acknowledging the direction of the horses’ heads, actually buy a book.
    Thank you for posting this.
    Marie Marshall
    author/poet/editor
    by Dundee, Scotland

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s true that poetry is enjoyed best when it appears spontaneously.

      Now that you’re going to buy her collection of poems, I would say Happy Reading.

      All the Best & thanks for stopping by! 😊

      Like

  2. Pingback: Poetry: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening | Books N Me

  3. Pingback: Poetry: Into Another World | Books N Me

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