''T was just this time last year I died.' by Emily Dickinson
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'T was just this time last year I died.
I know I heard the corn,
When I was carried by the farms,--
It had the tassels on.
I thought how yellow it would look
When Richard went to mill;
And then I wanted to get out,
But something held my will.
I thought just how red apples wedged
The stubble's joints between;
And carts went stooping round the fields
To take the pumpkins in.
I wondered which would miss me least,
And when Thanksgiving came,
If father'd multiply the plates
To make an even sum.
And if my stocking hung too high,
Would it blur the Christmas glee,
That not a Santa Claus could reach
The altitude of me?
But this sort grieved myself, and so
I thought how it would be
When just this time, some perfect year,
Themselves should come to me.
Editor 1 Interpretation
‘T was just this time last year I died’ - Emily Dickinson
Are you prepared to delve into the depths of Emily Dickinson's poetic genius with me? If so, brace yourself for a literary journey through the darkness and complexity of her poem, '‘T was just this time last year I died’.
This poem, like many of Dickinson's works, is shrouded in mystery and ambiguity. It is not entirely clear who the speaker is or what exactly has happened. We are left to interpret the poem's meaning through the imagery and language that Dickinson employs.
The title of the poem immediately sets the tone for the rest of the piece. The use of the past tense suggests that the speaker has already died, but the addition of the word 'just' implies that this event was recent. The ambiguity continues as we are not given any details about how the speaker died or even if they are speaking metaphorically.
The first line of the poem, "T was just this time last year I died," is immediately intriguing. The use of the contraction "T was" instead of "It was" adds a personal touch to the line, as if the speaker is speaking directly to the reader. The fact that the speaker died "just this time last year" adds a sense of urgency and immediacy to the poem.
The next line, "I know I heard the Corn," adds to the mystery of the poem. The use of synesthesia, the blending of senses, creates a surreal and dreamlike quality to the poem. The speaker can hear the corn, which suggests that they are either in a state of heightened awareness or that they have passed into a realm where the senses are different.
The third line, "When I was carried by the Farms," is another example of Dickinson's use of ambiguity. It is unclear what is meant by "carried by the Farms." It could be interpreted as being carried by the land, or perhaps by the people who work on the farms.
The fourth line, "It had died long before," is particularly enigmatic. The use of the word "It" creates a sense of detachment, as if the speaker is referring to something outside of themselves. The fact that "It" had died "long before" adds to the sense of mystery and ambiguity.
The second stanza of the poem begins with the line, "The Sea and I were fellow prisoners." This line creates a sense of unity between the speaker and the sea. They are both prisoners, perhaps of life or of death. The use of the word "fellow" suggests that the speaker and the sea are equals in some way.
The next line, "Of the solitary reign," adds to the sense of isolation and loneliness that permeates the poem. The speaker and the sea are both alone, both trapped in their respective prisons.
The sixth line, "And when the Night entered," is another example of Dickinson's use of synesthesia. Night is personified as entering, which creates a sense of foreboding and uncertainty.
The final stanza of the poem begins with the line, "This was a dream." This line adds to the sense of unreality that has been present throughout the poem. The events of the poem may not have actually happened, or they may have happened in a different realm of existence.
The next line, "When ‘Adrift I floated a' is particularly intriguing. The use of the word "adrift" suggests that the speaker is lost or without direction. The fact that they are floating adds to the sense of detachment and otherworldliness.
The final two lines of the poem, "With none to guard my Gate," and "Hordes came plundering in," create a sense of vulnerability and danger. The speaker's gate is unguarded, leaving them open to attack. The use of the word "hordes" suggests that the attackers are many and overwhelming.
In conclusion, '‘T was just this time last year I died’' is a prime example of Emily Dickinson's poetic genius. The poem is full of ambiguity, mystery, and enigmatic language, leaving the reader to interpret the meaning for themselves. The use of synesthesia and personification creates a surreal and dreamlike quality to the poem, while the sense of isolation and vulnerability creates a sense of unease. Overall, this poem is a haunting and thought-provoking work of art that will stay with the reader long after they have finished reading it.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
"T was just this time last year I died": A Poetic Exploration of Death and Rebirth
Emily Dickinson's "T was just this time last year I died" is a hauntingly beautiful poem that explores the themes of death and rebirth. Written in Dickinson's signature style of short, enigmatic lines, the poem captures the essence of the human experience of mortality and the hope for renewal.
"T was just this time last year I died. I know I heard the Corn, When I was carried by the Farms— It had the Tassels on—
I thought how yellow it would look— When Richard went to mill— And then, I wanted to get out, But something held my will.
I thought just how Red—Apples wedged The Stubble's joints between— And the Carts stooping round the fields To take the Pumpkins in—
I wondered which would miss me, least, And when Thanksgiving, came, If Father'd multiply the plates— To make an even Sum—
And would it blur the Christmas glee My Stocking hang too high For any Santa Claus to reach The Altitude of me—
But this sort, grieved myself, And so, I thought the other way, How just this time, some perfect year— Themself, should come to me—"
The poem begins with the speaker announcing that it has been a year since they died. The use of the past tense suggests that the speaker is reflecting on their death from a place beyond the physical world. The mention of the corn with tassels on it creates a vivid image of the harvest season, a time of both abundance and decay. The speaker's observation of the corn suggests that they are still connected to the world of the living, even though they have passed on.
The line "But something held my will" suggests that the speaker was not ready to die and that there was some force that prevented them from leaving. This could be interpreted as a metaphor for the struggle between life and death, or the resistance that some people feel when faced with the prospect of their own mortality.
The next stanza describes the speaker's thoughts about the red apples wedged between the stubble's joints and the carts stooping around the fields to take the pumpkins in. These images evoke a sense of the cyclical nature of life and death, as the harvest season marks the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. The speaker's contemplation of these scenes suggests that they are still connected to the world of the living and are observing the passing of time.
The line "I wondered which would miss me, least" suggests that the speaker is contemplating their own legacy and the impact that their death will have on those around them. The mention of Thanksgiving and the father multiplying the plates to make an even sum suggests that the speaker is from a large family and that their absence will be felt keenly.
The final stanza is perhaps the most enigmatic of the poem. The speaker wonders if their absence will blur the Christmas glee and if their stocking will hang too high for Santa Claus to reach. These lines suggest a sense of longing for the innocence and joy of childhood, and a desire to be remembered and celebrated even after death.
The final line of the poem, "How just this time, some perfect year—Themself, should come to me—" suggests that the speaker is hoping for some kind of rebirth or renewal. The use of the word "perfect" suggests that the speaker is hoping for a new beginning that is free from the pain and suffering of the physical world.
Emily Dickinson's "T was just this time last year I died" is a powerful exploration of the themes of death and rebirth. Through vivid imagery and enigmatic language, the poem captures the essence of the human experience of mortality and the hope for renewal. The speaker's contemplation of the passing of time and their own legacy creates a sense of longing for connection and meaning, even beyond death. Ultimately, the poem suggests that even in the face of death, there is hope for renewal and the possibility of a new beginning.
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