Emily Dickinson wrote multiple poems describing objects without ever saying the object’s names. A few examples would be her poems “Leaden Sieves,” “A Narrow Fellow in the Grass,” and “Route of Evanescence.” These poems are similar to a riddle. In order to determine what her poem is about one must analyze the poems to identify what the object is by observing how appropriate the description is and how effective the language is in conveying the essence of the object.
The first poem, “Leaden Sieves,” is about snow. The description and language was very clear to understand in this particular poem. Line 2 read, “It powders all the Wood.” Powder is white. The word “powder” also suggests that the object gently covers something. More details that lead the reader to believe that the poem could potentially be about snow fall in the following lines, “It reaches to the Fence/It wraps it Rail by Rail/Till it is lost in Fleeces” (9-11). These lines suggest that snow is covering the fence and its’ rails. “Till it is lost in Fleeces” is again suggesting that the object is white. Fleece is the coat of a lamb which is white. Lines 14-15 say, “A Summer’s empty room/Acres of Joints, where Harvests were.” These lines give the impression that it is the winter season. “A Summer’s empty room,” meaning that summer is gone and “where Harvests were,” implying that what used to be growth is now dead.
Dickinson’s poem, “A Narrow Fellow in the Grass,” is about a snake. The description and language was decently clear to understand in this poem. A reader can easily determine it is some type of creature that resides on the ground, but it is not very clear as to whether it is a snake or maybe a worm. When line 6 stated, “a spotted Shaft…” this gave assurance that a snake would be the more correct option since snakes can be spotted. “A narrow Fellow in the Grass/Occasionally rides/You may have met Him-did you not/His notice sudden is” (1-4). These line imply that it is a creature that slithers on the ground, and also that it moves fast because it can happen a upon a person at a “sudden” instant. Also the person in the poem mistook the object for a “Whip lash” (13) which is a rope. A snake is shaped like a rope.
“Route of Evanescence” is very short poem so it’s description is difficult to catch onto. The length of poem plays an important part in the poem’s language though. This poem is about a hummingbird. Line 3 says, “A Resonance of Emerald” describes the object as possessing a deep, beautiful green color. “And every Blossom on the Bush/Adjusts it’s tumbled Head” (5-6) suggests flowers that are moving as if perhaps they have just been drank from by a hummingbird. The word “rush” in line 4 and the short length of the poem implies that the object is something that moves fast and is there and then gone in a blink.
The final poem (#585) is about a train. “I like to see it lap the Miles/And lick the Valleys up” (1-2) suggests not only that the object moves but also that it can cover great distances by using the word “miles.” Also the object makes some type of noise. The following lines are two examples of the object having the ability to make noise, “In horrid-hooting stanza” (12) and “…neigh like Boanerges” (14). Lastly. the lines “The-punctual as a Star/Stop-docile and omnipotent/At its own stable door” (15-17) insinuates something arriving at a destination at a set time like a train does at a depot.
Poems can describe objects without saying the object’s names. Readers can determine what the poem is about by analyzing the poems, observing how appropriate the description is, and how effective the language is in conveying the essence of the object. Dickinson’s poems “Leaden Sieves,” “A Narrow Fellow in the Grass,” and “Route of Evanescence” were riddles they were soon solved after a lot of analyzation.
Courtney from Study Moose
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