Poetry Explication


Poetry Explication
Dana Leonard

Grand Canyon University
ENG 200
May 24, 2009
Poetry Explication

Poetry Explication
Emily Dickenson’s 712
Emily Dickenson, in Because I could not stop for death, personifies death as a courtly gentleman, wooing her toward eternity. The theme is the continuum of eternity; life through all its stages, and death as the final yet infinite destination. Life is the journey, and in death we face eternity alone as she says the carriage held but just Ourselves—and immortality.
Using the words slowly and no haste, indicates that it is a leisurely trip. There is no hurry while we are growing up, life seems so long. As we get closer to the end of our lives, the time passes more quickly. Suddenly they passed the Setting Sun—or rather—He passed Us—was it that hard to determine the beginning from the end? It seems that in eternity, there is no line of demarcation.
The speaker is telling of her death as she looks back on it from eternity. She says death was kind to stop for her, since she was too busy living to die. She realized as she went with Him, it meant immortality—eternal life. Death is just another state of existence in the infiniteness of time (Shaw, 1991).
The imagery she uses to indicate the journey through life, the different stages, are familiar to everyone—a schoolyard full of children to represent childhood; a field ripe for the harvest to represent human life in its prime; the setting sun representing the end of the life, and the beginning of death. As the sun passes, a dew falls, and the speaker realizes she is dressed inadequately for the time (Nobel, 2000). Chills, quivers, passing from life to death.   Is anyone ever really prepared?
The house that seemed life the swelling of the ground represents the grave; the swollen ground is the covered grave; the roof and the cornice in the ground is the headstone. She sees the date on the headstone, and realizes it has been centuries...