Emily Dickinson's Poetry

Poem By:
Emily Dickinson
The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson


                      To hear an oriole sing
                      May be a common thing,
                      Or only a divine.

                      It is not of the bird
                      Who sings the same, unheard,
                      As unto [the] crowd.

                      The fashion of an ear
                      Attireth that it hear
                      In dun or far.

                      So whether it be rune,
                      Or whether it be none,
                      Is of within;

                      The “tune is in the tree,”
                      The sceptic showeth me;
                      “No, sir! In thee!”

Literal Meaning

The literal meaning of the Poem is that hearing an oriole may be something common, or something special. It is not the bird’s fault that it only sings the same songs, or whistles the same tune to a crowd that doesn’t pay attention. We do not hear the song or tune because we do not have the richest or best hearing, so it seems dull or fair. It could be magical or splendid, or it could be terrible and indifferent. It all depends on how you look at it or hear it. Someone who doubts it is wonderful says it comes from the tree, but I say it comes from the heart of the bird.

Symbolic Meaning

The symbolic meaning of the Poem is that happiness, prosperity, and harmony is not often seen by everyone, and opportunities are usually passed up. It is the people’s fault they can not find happiness when it is staring them in their face. It is always their, but people ignore it. Only those who truly wish to be happy and can recognize harmony and prosperity are those who find it. For them it is magical, but for others, they just consider them lucky, and that it was not tem who found its calling. They say it was just luck, even when they say they work hard. It is like the wealthy, they worked...