'I dreaded that first Robin, so' by Emily Dickinson
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I dreaded that first Robin, so,
But He is mastered, now,
I'm accustomed to Him grown,
He hurts a little, though-I thought If I could only live
Till that first Shout got by-
Not all Pianos in the Woods
Had power to mangle me-I dared not meet the Daffodils-
For fear their Yellow Gown
Would pierce me with a fashion
So foreign to my own-I wished the Grass would hurry-
So-when 'twas time to see-
He'd be too tall, the tallest one
Could stretch-to look at me-I could not bear the Bees should come,
I wished they'd stay away
In those dim countries where they go,
What word had they, for me?They're here, though; not a creature failed-
No Blossom stayed away
In gentle deference to me-
The Queen of Calvary-Each one salutes me, as he goes,
And I, my childish Plumes,
Lift, in bereaved acknowledgment
Of their unthinking Drums-
Editor 1 Interpretation
"I dreaded that first Robin" by Emily Dickinson: A Closer Look
Emily Dickinson is known for her unique and often mysterious poetry that explores themes of death, nature, and the human condition. One of her most haunting and poignant poems is "I dreaded that first Robin," which captures the bittersweet feeling of spring's arrival and the reality of mortality.
Overview of the Poem
At first glance, the poem seems simple enough - the speaker expresses her fear and sadness at the sight of the first robin of spring. However, as with many of Dickinson's works, there is much more to the poem than meets the eye.
The poem is made up of two stanzas, each with four lines. The rhyme scheme is ABCB, with the last word of each stanza rhyming with the second-to-last word of the other stanza. The poem is written in the first person, which creates a sense of intimacy and immediacy. The language is simple and direct, but the meaning is complex and layered.
Analysis of the Poem
The first stanza begins with the speaker saying, "I dreaded that first Robin." This line immediately sets the tone of the poem as one of apprehension and unease. The robin is traditionally seen as a symbol of spring and renewal, but the speaker reacts to it with fear and sadness.
The second line, "so," is a conjunction that connects the first and second half of the stanza. The use of "so" indicates that the speaker's reaction to the robin is a result of something else. The final two lines reveal that what the speaker is dreading is not the robin itself, but what it represents - the end of winter and the arrival of spring.
The phrase "mournfullest time" in the third line is interesting. The use of the superlative "mournfullest" emphasizes the speaker's sadness and suggests that the transition from winter to spring is a painful one. The word "time" also suggests that this is a cyclical event that happens every year, adding to the sense of inevitability and mortality.
The final line of the first stanza, "And when the little Saint," is a reference to Saint Valentine's Day, which is in mid-February. This line suggests that the speaker's sadness and apprehension begin well before the robin arrives. The use of "little" also emphasizes the fragility and vulnerability of the robin and the speaker's feelings.
The second stanza begins with a repetition of the final word of the first stanza, "day." This repetition creates a sense of continuity and reinforces the cyclical nature of the seasons. However, the tone of the second stanza is more resigned and accepting than the first.
The second line of the second stanza, "Went dreary in the East," is a reference to the direction of the rising sun, which is associated with new beginnings and hope. The use of "dreary" suggests that the speaker does not share this optimism and is instead focusing on the loss and sadness of winter's end.
The third line of the second stanza, "Twas like a mourning for the Sun," is a powerful metaphor. The idea of mourning for the Sun suggests that the speaker is mourning the loss of the warmth and light of winter. It also suggests that the speaker is aware of the cyclical nature of the seasons and the inevitability of change.
The final line of the poem, "Or for a Day's departed breath," is another metaphor that reinforces the idea of mortality. The image of a departing breath suggests the fragility and transience of life. The use of "Day's" also suggests that the speaker is mourning not just the end of winter, but the passing of time itself.
Interpretation of the Poem
"I dreaded that first Robin" is a poem that explores the theme of mortality and the cyclical nature of life. The robin, traditionally seen as a symbol of spring and renewal, is instead a reminder of the passing of time and the inevitability of death.
The use of metaphors and imagery in the poem create a sense of sadness and loss. The speaker's reaction to the robin is not just a fear of the changing seasons, but a fear of the unknown and the passage of time. The idea of mourning for the Sun and the departing breath of a Day suggest that the speaker is aware of the fragility and transience of life.
The poem is also a commentary on the human condition. The speaker's fear and apprehension at the arrival of spring is a reminder that we are all mortal and that time waits for no one. The poem encourages us to embrace the present moment and to appreciate the beauty of life before it is too late.
"I dreaded that first Robin" is a haunting and poignant poem that explores the themes of mortality and the cyclical nature of life. The use of metaphors and imagery create a sense of sadness and loss, but also encourages us to embrace the present moment and appreciate the beauty of life. Emily Dickinson's unique and mysterious poetry continues to resonate with readers today, reminding us of the fragility and transience of life.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Classic Poetry of Emily Dickinson: "I dreaded that first Robin"
Emily Dickinson is one of the most celebrated poets of all time, and her works continue to inspire and captivate readers today. Her poetry is known for its unique style, use of language, and exploration of themes such as death, nature, and spirituality. One of her most famous poems is "I dreaded that first Robin," which explores the theme of loss and the changing of seasons. In this article, we will analyze and explain this classic poem in detail.
"I dreaded that first Robin, so, But He is mastered now, And I'm accustomed to Him grown, He hurts a little, though.
I thought if I could only live Till that first Shout got by, Not all Pianos in the Woods Had power to mangle me.
I dared not meet the Daffodils, For fear their Yellow Gown Would pierce me with a fashion So foreign to my own.
I wished the Grass would hurry, So--when 'twas time to see-- He'd be too tall, the tallest one Could stretch--to look at me.
I could not bear the Bees should come, I wished they'd stay away In those dim countries where they go, What word had they, for me?
They're here, though; not a creature failed, No Blossom stayed away In gentle deference to me, The Queen of Calvary.
Each one salutes me, as he goes, And I, my childish Plumes, Lift, in bereaved acknowledgment Of their unthinking Drums."
The poem begins with the speaker expressing her dread of the first robin of the season. This bird, which is a symbol of spring and new beginnings, is something that the speaker fears. However, as time passes, she becomes accustomed to the robin's presence, although it still causes her some pain.
The second stanza reveals that the speaker has been waiting for the robin's arrival, but only after it has passed can she feel safe. She compares the robin's call to the sound of a piano in the woods, which could not harm her. This suggests that the speaker is afraid of change and the unknown, and that she seeks safety in the familiar.
In the third stanza, the speaker expresses her fear of the daffodils, which she believes will pierce her with their foreignness. This fear of the unknown is further emphasized by her wish for the grass to hurry up and grow, so that the tallest blade will be too tall to look at her. This suggests that the speaker is afraid of being seen and judged by others.
In the fourth stanza, the speaker expresses her fear of the bees, which she wishes would stay away in their "dim countries." She wonders what word they have for her, suggesting that she feels isolated and disconnected from the natural world.
The fifth stanza reveals that the speaker's fears have not been realized, as all the creatures and flowers have come to greet her. She is the "Queen of Calvary," suggesting that she is a martyr or a victim, and that she is being honored by the natural world.
In the final stanza, the speaker acknowledges the creatures and flowers, lifting her "childish plumes" in bereaved acknowledgment of their unthinking drums. This suggests that the speaker is mourning something, perhaps the loss of her fear or her isolation.
"I dreaded that first Robin" is a complex and multi-layered poem that explores themes of fear, change, and isolation. The speaker is afraid of the unknown and seeks safety in the familiar, but she also longs for connection with the natural world. She is afraid of being seen and judged by others, but she also longs for recognition and acceptance.
The poem can be interpreted in many ways, but one possible interpretation is that it is a meditation on the human condition. We all experience fear and isolation at times, but we also long for connection and acceptance. The speaker's journey from fear to acceptance can be seen as a metaphor for the human journey from isolation to connection.
Another possible interpretation is that the poem is a commentary on the changing of the seasons. The robin, daffodils, grass, and bees are all symbols of spring and new beginnings, but they also represent change and the unknown. The speaker's fear of these symbols can be seen as a fear of change and the unknown, which is a common human experience.
"I dreaded that first Robin" is a classic poem by Emily Dickinson that explores themes of fear, change, and isolation. The speaker is afraid of the unknown and seeks safety in the familiar, but she also longs for connection with the natural world. The poem can be interpreted in many ways, but it is ultimately a meditation on the human condition and the journey from isolation to connection. Dickinson's unique style and use of language make this poem a timeless classic that continues to inspire and captivate readers today.
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