'If my Bark sink' by Emily Dickinson
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If my Bark sink
'Tis to another sea—
Mortality's Ground Floor
Edited by Peter Carter
Editor 1 Interpretation
"If my Bark sink": A Journey through Emily Dickinson's Mind
Emily Dickinson is a household name in the world of poetry, known for her eccentricity and unique style of writing. Her poem, "If my Bark sink," is a prime example of the way she uses metaphors to convey complex emotions and thoughts. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve deep into the poem to analyze its theme, structure, and meaning.
"If my Bark sink" is a short poem with only two stanzas, each consisting of four lines. The poem uses a metaphor of a sinking ship or a "bark" to represent the speaker's life. The first stanza describes the sinking of the ship, while the second stanza talks about the aftermath of the event.
The theme of the poem is the inevitability of death and the acceptance of it. The "Bark" in the poem represents the speaker's life, and its sinking represents death. The poem talks about the speaker's journey towards death and how they will accept it when it comes.
The poem follows a strict AABB rhyme scheme, with each stanza consisting of four lines. The poem's structure is simple, mimicking the simplicity of the metaphor used in it. The lack of complexity in the structure creates a sense of finality, emphasizing the inevitability of the event being described.
Language and Imagery
Dickinson's use of metaphors is one of the most striking elements of the poem. The metaphor of the sinking ship is a powerful one, and it creates a vivid image in the reader's mind. The use of words like "plunge" and "dip" adds to the vividness of the imagery, making it feel like the reader is experiencing the sinking with the speaker.
The poem's language is simple yet impactful. The use of the word "If" at the beginning of the poem creates a sense of uncertainty, as if the speaker is unsure of whether the sinking will happen or not. This uncertainty is mirrored in the second stanza, where the speaker talks about what they will do "If they change," implying that they are not sure if they will change or not.
The tone of the poem is one of acceptance and resignation. The speaker talks about the sinking of their ship as if it is an inevitable event that they have come to terms with. There is no sense of fear or panic in the speaker's words, only a calm acceptance of what is to come.
The poem can be interpreted in several ways, depending on the reader's perspective. One interpretation is that the sinking ship represents the end of a relationship or a phase of life. The speaker talks about accepting the sinking and moving on, which could represent the speaker's acceptance of the end of a relationship or a transition to a new phase of life.
Another interpretation is that the sinking ship represents death. The speaker talks about accepting death when it comes and moving on to the afterlife. The poem's theme of acceptance of death is a common theme in Dickinson's poetry, and it is possible that the sinking ship is just another metaphor for death.
"If my Bark sink" is a poignant poem that uses a powerful metaphor to convey its message. The simplicity of the language and structure creates a sense of finality, emphasizing the inevitability of the event being described. The poem's theme of acceptance of death is a common one in Dickinson's work, and it is possible that the sinking ship is just another metaphor for death. Overall, the poem is a beautiful example of Dickinson's unique style and her ability to convey complex emotions through simple metaphors.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
If My Bark Sink: A Deep Dive into Emily Dickinson's Poem
Emily Dickinson is one of the most renowned poets of all time, and her works continue to inspire and captivate readers even today. One of her most famous poems is "If My Bark Sink," a short but powerful piece that explores the themes of mortality, faith, and acceptance. In this article, we will take a closer look at this classic poem and analyze its meaning and significance.
The poem begins with the line "If my bark sink," which immediately sets the tone for the rest of the piece. The word "bark" here refers to a ship or boat, and the sinking of the bark represents the speaker's own mortality. The use of this metaphor is significant because it suggests that the speaker is on a journey, just as a ship is on a voyage. This journey is not just a physical one, but a spiritual one as well.
The next line reads, "Tis to thee I would." The use of the archaic "Tis" instead of "It is" adds a sense of formality and reverence to the poem. The speaker is addressing someone, and this someone is likely God or a higher power. The use of the word "thee" instead of "you" also adds a sense of intimacy and familiarity, as if the speaker is speaking directly to a friend.
The next two lines read, "Though my bark cannot carry me / Thou hast chosen me." Here, the speaker acknowledges that their physical body is limited and cannot carry them on their journey. However, they also acknowledge that they have been chosen by a higher power for this journey. This suggests that the speaker has faith in a divine plan and trusts that they are exactly where they are meant to be.
The next line reads, "Lay me on Eastern ground." This line is significant because it suggests that the speaker is not afraid of death. In fact, they are willing to be laid to rest in a foreign land, far from their home. This suggests that the speaker is not attached to material possessions or earthly ties, but is focused on their spiritual journey.
The next two lines read, "And I bet thee by my soul / That thy dust shall rise." Here, the speaker is making a promise to God or a higher power. They are betting their soul that their dust will rise, which suggests that they believe in the concept of resurrection or an afterlife. This line is significant because it shows that the speaker has a strong faith and is willing to make a bold statement to prove it.
The final two lines of the poem read, "Fame is a fickle food / Upon a shifting plate." Here, the speaker is acknowledging the fleeting nature of fame and worldly success. They suggest that these things are not important in the grand scheme of things and that they are like a "fickle food" that can easily be taken away. The use of the metaphor "shifting plate" suggests that fame and success are unstable and can change at any moment.
Overall, "If My Bark Sink" is a powerful poem that explores the themes of mortality, faith, and acceptance. The use of metaphors and archaic language adds a sense of formality and reverence to the piece, while the speaker's willingness to make bold statements about their faith adds a sense of conviction and strength. The poem is a reminder that our physical bodies are limited, but our spirits are eternal, and that we should focus on our spiritual journey rather than worldly success.
In conclusion, Emily Dickinson's "If My Bark Sink" is a classic poem that continues to inspire and captivate readers today. Its themes of mortality, faith, and acceptance are timeless and universal, and its use of language and metaphor adds a sense of depth and complexity to the piece. Whether you are a fan of poetry or not, this poem is a must-read for anyone who wants to explore the deeper questions of life and death.
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