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Emily Dickinson (December 1830-May 1880) was an American poet whose poems have been widely read and studied. The Norton Anthropology of Poetry are some of the institutions that have studied Emily's poems, and in this essay, I have looked at four poems, namely, "A Bird Came Down the Walk", "I'm nobody! Who are you?", "After a hundred years" and "She rose to his requirement".
In the above extracted poems, the writer has successfully expressed herself fully through various moods and feelings. For example, taking a poem at a time, in " a bird came down the walk", the narrator tries befriending the bird by offering it crumbs. Due to the unfamiliarity between the bird and the narrator, the personified bird acts naturally and in an ordinary way. The moment he offers the bird crumbs, there is change of moods as the bird becomes tense and starts progressing with fear and caution. There is therefore change of feelings in the bird from natural to a fearful and frightened one.
In the second poem, "I'm nobody! Who are you?" there is evident sense of humor in the poem. To begin with, the poet admits that she is a nobody. She goes ahead to ask the reader who she is, and humorously concludes for herself that the reader is a nobody too. This is evident in the second stanza where she exclaims, "Then there is a pair of us!" she goes ahead to prefer being a nobody, which she compares to frogs than when one is in the public eye, where one has to pretend, to "the admiring bogs". This gives the poem a humorous and relaxed feel.
"After a hundred years" is the next poem. Notably in this poem, there is a general feel of sadness and nostalgia. The poem is about a man who had died. When he died, people close to him used to visit him, but after a hundred years (to symbolize a long time), nobody visits him anymore. This is symbolized by the presence of weeds and grass by the graveyard, and passersby barely recognize the grave. Every time the wind blows, they bring with them long gone memories and this makes the narrator remember the earlier times with nostalgia and sadness. This usually happens every time a person drifts apart with people close to him.
The last poem to be reviewed is "she rose to his requirement". This is yet another poem full of sadness. The poem is about a wife who sacrifices her happiness just to satisfy her husband with happiness. With time, her melancholy slowly piles up in her heart (developing pearl and weed, unmentioned as the sea) without the knowledge of her husband. The poem is therefore full of sadness and melancholy.
In the above reviewed poems, the poet, Ms. Emily Dickinson has effectively brought out various feelings in her poetry, ranging from happiness, calmness to nostalgia, melancholy and sadness. She gives her poems dramatic turns, making them full of suspense and expectations. The last two poems especially are full of sadness but the first two are full of life and humor.