A Comparison of Two Poems by Emily Dickinson

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 191
  • Published: June 7, 2006
Read full document
Text Preview

Once we endeavor to examine the concept of time we have to do it close enough to the concept of eternity. When speaking of eternity Dickinson often uses the circumference – the circle image. Time flees so vast that were it not For an Eternity-

I fear me this circumference
Engross my finity (poem 802) The relationship between time and eternity, between the limited, measurable extent of time and the totality of the infinite time in Heaven is unavoidable. In poem 906 Dickinson reviews time from eternity and , thus, draws a line between the finite and the infinite duration, accordingly, enlightenment: the acquisition of spiritual light and of coherence is realized only in eternity. Nonetheless, "Forever- is composed of Nows " and in poem 624 eternity can be felt now: there is , still, a hope to conceive unity within the ephemeral. Throughout this discussion I'll try to consider the notion of time with relation to the concept of eternity as demonstrated in poems 906 and 624.

In the year of 1864 Emily Dickinson writes to Susan Gilbert that "there is no first or last , in forever- it is centre, there all the time"( Letters 2 , letter 288, p.430). In poem 906 the Open Tomb serves as the melting pot for all times and the circle image stresses the relationship between time and eternity; this is well expressed in the words "Convex and Concave Witness". The round movement is "back toward Time" and vice versa- "Forward Toward the God Of Him". This instance of circular motion erects a new consideration of time And what we saw not

We distinguish clear
And mostly- see not
What we saw before
The events that had occurred before the instance of dying receive a different estimation in the everlasting existence after death. We are now in the position of discovering new perspectives in our former life ("What we saw not/ we distinguish clear") and, yet, we are not able to see "what we saw before", the mortal vistas are being distinguished as differing; it is the infinite which models the intelligibility of the finite.

The meditation on past events as viewed from the afterlife is not a mere cognizance but "'Tis compound vision". The Divine light enables the human wisdom to grasp the wholeness; the finite: the human world is furnished with the infinite- with eternity. Again there is a strong sense of togetherness , of relationship between time and eternity and it is best expressed in the words "enabling" and "furnished with". The circle image as the symbol of eternity, of Heaven. represents not only the perfection of God, but the everlasting God and it also stands for the circular nimbus, used in portrayals of Christ and thus suggests the idea of redemption. "To believe is enough" writes Emily to Sue and reflects the faith in eternity- maybe, there, in the realm of God , our enhancing comprehension can lead us to encompass all the accidental moments of our previous existence, hence, all their incidental alterations, afflictions and trivialities can be endured. Accordingly all last events become firmly attached and time is captured as an integral unit.

Emily Dickinson relates the concept of time to principles of right and wrong. Time creates an awe-inspiring feeling, and yet, can be considered with ignominy as well The Admirations- and Contempts- of time- Show justest- through an Open Tomb The valuation of time bears a moral reasoning: each moment is either admired or despised. The act of dying "Reorganizes Estimate-" the revision conveys an economical estimation of the approximate value of bygone instants. Time is, actually, judged with respect to its worth.

Still eternity can be sensed in the compass of...
tracking img