A Comparison of Two Poems by Emily Dickinson

Topics: Emily Dickinson, Life, Time Pages: 4 (1253 words) Published: June 7, 2006

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...

Bibliography: 1. The Letters of Emily Dickinson, 3 vols., ed. Thomas H. Johnson and Theodora Ward (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1958).
2. Ferguson, George. Signs and Symbols in Christian Art (London: Oxford University Press, 1954).
3. Johnson , Thomas H. Emily Dickinson An Interpretive Biography (New York: Atheneum, 1967).
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