35 Emily Dickinson Poems That Are Ridiculously Readable

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Silas & Grace

An Emily Dickinson poem.

I feel that one of the best ways to easily level up in culturing yourself is to read over some incredible Emily Dickinson poems.

Yep, there are a lot of great poets out there, and I’ve covered some great short poems by amazing writers.

But Emily Dickinson just hits different.

I’ve personally read over SO many poems by different people where the poems were just a bit too abstract, or it didn’t interest me.

And that can be pretty hard when you actually want to get into poetry!

But Emily Dickinson’s poems are readable, and beautiful, and don’t leave you confused.

So whether you want to get more cultured, or find a good poem to share with others, Emily has definitely got you covered. 👌


Related: 55 Poems About Friendship (for MAX Closeness) 📖


 

Contents

Who Was Emily Dickinson?

Now real quick, if you don’t know who she is, then the first thing you should know about Emily is that she was one of the most impactful poets in American literary history.

And like many great artists, Emily Dickinson’s work was rarely acknowledged in her lifetime.

Her posthumous fame can be attributed to her sister’s discovery of nearly 1,800 (??!!) poems tucked away in the booklets that sprawled Dickinson’s room.

Dickinson wrote about everything that intrigued her. The scope of her work spanned nearly every facet of life, from the anxiety of self-identity to the bleakness of impending death.

And this list is a curated collection of Emily’s greatest work.

So sit down, grab a coffee ☕️, and dive into Dickinson’s poetic recollection of the mysteries and trivialities within our lives.


Related: 30 Short Poems That Are (Legit) Good + Make You a Bit More Cultured


Emily Dickinson Poetry

1. “There is no Frigate like a Book” by Emily Dickinson

The poem, “There is no Frigate like a Book” by Emily Dickinson.

“There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry—
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll—
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human soul”


Related: 39+ Love Poems That Are [Undeniably] Share-Worthy


 

2. “Hope is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers —
That perches in the soul —
And sings the tune without the words —
And never stops — at all —

And sweetest — in the Gale — is heard —
And sore must be the storm —”
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm —

I’ve heard it in the chillest land —
And on the strangest Sea —
Yet — never — in Extremity,
It asked a crumb — of me.”


3. “Tis so much joy! ‘Tis is so much joy!” by Emily Dickinson

“Tis so much joy! ‘Tis so much joy!
If I should fail, what poverty!
And yet, as poor as I,
Have ventured all upon a throw!
Have gained! Yes! Hesitated so —
This side the Victory!

Life is but Life! And Death, but Death!
Bliss is but Bliss, and Breath but Breath!
And if indeed I fail,
At least, to know the worst, is sweet!
Defeat means nothing but Defeat,
No drearier, can befall!

And if I gain! Oh Gun at Sea!
Oh Bells, that in the Steeples be!
At first, repeat it slow!
For Heaven is a different thing,
Conjectured, and waked sudden in —
And might extinguish me!”


4. “Faith — is the Pierless Bridge” by Emily Dickinson

A poem by Emily Dickinson titled, “Faith — is the Pierless Bridge.”

“Faith — is the Pierless Bridge
Supporting what We see
Unto the Scene that We do not —
Too slender for the eye

It bears the Soul as bold
As it were rocked in Steel
With Arms of Steel at either side —
It joins — behind the Veil

To what, could We presume
The Bridge would cease to be
To Our far, vacillating Feet
A first Necessity.”

 

5. “Death sets a Thing significant” by Emily Dickinson

“Death sets a thing significant
The eye had hurried by,
Except a perished creature
Entreat us tenderly

To ponder little workmanships
In crayon or in wool,
With “This was last her fingers did,”
Industrious until

The thimble weighed too heavy,
The stitches stopped themselves,
And then ‘t was put among the dust
Upon the closet shelves.

A book I have, a friend gave,
Whose pencil, here and there,
Had notched the place that pleased him,–
At rest his fingers are.

Now, when I read, I read not,
For interrupting tears
Obliterate the etchings
Too costly for repairs.”


6. “I Measure every Grief I meet” by Emily Dickinson

“I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, eyes –
I wonder if It weighs like Mine –
Or has an Easier size.

I wonder if They bore it long –
Or did it just begin –
I could not tell the Date of Mine –
It feels so old a pain –

I wonder if it hurts to live –
And if They have to try –
And whether – could They choose between –
It would not be – to die –

I note that Some – gone patient long –
At length, renew their smile –
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil –

I wonder if when Years have piled –
Some Thousands – on the Harm –
That hurt them early – such a lapse
Could give them any Balm –

Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve –
Enlightened to a larger Pain –
In Contrast with the Love

The Grieved – are many – I am told –
There is the various Cause –
Death – is but one – and comes but once –
And only nails the eyes –

There’s Grief of Want – and grief of Cold –
A sort they call “Despair” –
There’s Banishment from native Eyes –
In sight of Native Air –

And though I may not guess the kind –
Correctly – yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary –

To note the fashions – of the Cross –
And how they’re mostly worn –
Still fascinated to presume
That Some – are like my own –”

 

7. “Tell all the truth but tell it slant” by Emily Dickinson

“Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —”


8. “Because I could not stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson

“Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed Us –
The Dews drew quivering and Chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – ’tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity –”

 

9. “A Bird, came down the Walk” by Emily Dickinson

“A Bird came down the Walk —
He did not know I saw —
He bit an Angleworm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,

And then he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass —
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass —

He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all around —
They looked like frightened Beads, I thought —
He stirred his Velvet Head

Like one in danger, Cautious,
I offered him a Crumb
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home —

Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam —
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon
Leap, splashless as they swim.”


10. “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” by Emily Dickinson

A poem by Emily Dickinson titled, “I'm Nobody! Who are you?”

“I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!”

 

11. “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” by Emily Dickinson

“I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading – treading – till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through –

And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum –
Kept beating – beating – till I thought
My mind was going numb –

And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space – began to toll,

As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race,
Wrecked, solitary, here –

And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down –
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing – then -“


12. “Wild nights – Wild nights!” by Emily Dickinson

“Wild nights – Wild nights!
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile – the winds –
To a Heart in port –
Done with the Compass –
Done with the Chart!

Rowing in Eden –
Ah – the Sea!
Might I but moor – tonight –
In thee!”


13. “My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun” by Emily Dickinson

“My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun –
In Corners – till a Day
The Owner passed – identified –
And carried Me away –

And now We roam in Sovereign Woods –
And now We hunt the Doe –
And every time I speak for Him
The Mountains straight reply –

And do I smile, such cordial light
Opon the Valley glow –
It is as a Vesuvian face
Had let it’s pleasure through –

And when at Night – Our good Day done –
I guard My Master’s Head –
’Tis better than the Eider Duck’s
Deep Pillow – to have shared –

To foe of His – I’m deadly foe –
None stir the second time –
On whom I lay a Yellow Eye –
Or an emphatic Thumb –

Though I than He – may longer live
He longer must – than I –
For I have but the power to kill,
Without – the power to die -“

 

14. “I taste a liquor never brewed” by Emily Dickinson

“I taste a liquor never brewed –
From Tankards scooped in Pearl –
Not all the Frankfort Berries
Yield such an Alcohol!

Inebriate of air – am I –
And Debauchee of Dew –
Reeling – thro’ endless summer days –
From inns of molten Blue –

When “Landlords” turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove’s door –
When Butterflies – renounce their “drams” –
I shall but drink the more!

Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats –
And Saints – to windows run –
To see the little Tippler
Leaning against the – Sun!”


15. “A Light Exists in Spring” by Emily Dickinson

“A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.”


16. “The Brain — is wider than the Sky” by Emily Dickinson

A poem by Emily Dickinson titled, “The Brain — is wider than the Sky.”

“The Brain—is wider than the Sky—
For—put them side by side—
The one the other will contain
With ease—and you—beside—

The Brain is deeper than the sea—
For—hold them—Blue to Blue—
The one the other will absorb—
As sponges—Buckets—do—

The Brain is just the weight of God—
For—Heft them—Pound for Pound—
And they will differ—if they do—
As Syllable from Sound—”

 

17. “Much Madness is divinest Sense” by Emily Dickinson

“Much Madness is divinest Sense –
To a discerning Eye –
Much Sense – the starkest Madness –
’Tis the Majority
In this, as all, prevail –
Assent – and you are sane –
Demur – you’re straightway dangerous –
And handled with a Chain -“


18. “Abraham to Kill Him” by Emily Dickinson

“Abraham to kill him —
Was distinctly told —
Isaac was an Urchin —
Abraham was old —

Not a hesitation —
Abraham complied —
Flattered by Obeisance
Tyranny demurred —

Isaac — to his children
Lived to tell the tale —
Moral — with a Mastiff
Manners may prevail.”


19. “Apparently with no surprise” by Emily Dickinson

“Apparently with no surprise
To any happy Flower
The Frost beheads it at it’s play –
In accidental power –
The blonde Assassin passes on –
The Sun proceeds unmoved
To measure off another Day
For an Approving God –”

 

20. “If I can stop one heart from breaking” by Emily Dickinson

A poem by Emily Dickinson titled, “If I can stop one heart from breaking.”

“If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”


21. “I like a look of agony” by Emily Dickinson

“I like a look of Agony,
Because I know it’s true –
Men do not sham Convulsion,
Nor simulate a Throe –

The Eyes glaze once – and that is Death –
Impossible to feign
The Beads upon the Forehead
By homely Anguish strung.”

 

22. “The saddest noise, the sweetest noise” by Emily Dickinson

“The saddest noise, the sweetest noise,
The maddest noise that grows,—
The birds, they make it in the spring,
At night’s delicious close.

Between the March and April line—
That magical frontier
Beyond which summer hesitates,
Almost too heavenly near.

It makes us think of all the dead
That sauntered with us here,
By separation’s sorcery
Made cruelly more dear.

It makes us think of what we had,
And what we now deplore.
We almost wish those siren throats
Would go and sing no more.

An ear can break a human heart
As quickly as a spear,
We wish the ear had not a heart
So dangerously near.”


23. “I took my Power in my Hand” by Emily Dickinson

“I took my Power in my Hand—
And went against the World—
’Twas not so much as David—had—
But I—was twice as bold—

I aimed by Pebble—but Myself
Was all the one that fell—
Was it Goliath—was too large—
Or was myself—too small?”


24. “There’s a certain Slant of light” by Emily Dickinson

“There’s a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons –
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes –

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –
We can find no scar,
But internal difference –
Where the Meanings, are –

None may teach it – Any –
‘Tis the seal Despair –
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air –

When it comes, the Landscape listens –
Shadows – hold their breath –
When it goes, ’tis like the Distance
On the look of Death –”

 

25. “Success is Counted Sweetest” by Emily Dickinson

The Emily Dickinson poem, “Success is Counted Sweetest.”

“Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple Host
Who took the Flag today
Can tell the definition
So clear of victory

As he defeated – dying –
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Burst agonized and clear!”


26. “The Soul selects her own Society” by Emily Dickinson

“The Soul selects her own Society —
Then — shuts the Door —
To her divine Majority —
Present no more —

Unmoved — she notes the Chariots — pausing —
At her low Gate —
Unmoved — an Emperor be kneeling
Upon her Mat —

I’ve known her — from an ample nation —
Choose One —
Then — close the Valves of her attention —
Like Stone —”


27. “I dwell in Possibility” by Emily Dickinson

“I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –

Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –”

 

28. “A Narrow Fellow in the Grass” by Emily Dickinson

“A narrow Fellow in the Grass
Occasionally rides –
You may have met him? Did you not
His notice instant is –

The Grass divides as with a Comb,
A spotted Shaft is seen,
And then it closes at your Feet
And opens further on –

He likes a Boggy Acre –
A Floor too cool for Corn –
But when a Boy and Barefoot
I more than once at Noon

Have passed I thought a Whip Lash
Unbraiding in the Sun
When stooping to secure it
It wrinkled And was gone –

Several of Nature’s People
I know, and they know me
I feel for them a transport
Of Cordiality

But never met this Fellow
Attended or alone
Without a tighter Breathing
And Zero at the Bone.”


29. “The Daisy follows soft the Sun” by Emily Dickinson

The Emily Dickinson poem, “The Daisy follows soft the Sun.”

“THE daisy follows soft the sun,
And when his golden walk is done,
Sits shyly at his feet.
He, waking, finds the flower near.
“Wherefore, marauder, art thou here?”
“Because, sir, love is sweet!”

We are the flower, Thou the sun!
Forgive us, if as days decline,
We nearer steal to Thee,–
Enamoured of the parting west,
The peace, the flight, the amethyst,
Night’s possibility!”


30. “After great pain, a formal feeling comes” by Emily Dickinson

“After great pain, a formal feeling comes –
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –
The stiff Heart questions ‘was it He, that bore,’
And ‘Yesterday, or Centuries before’?

The Feet, mechanical, go round –
A Wooden way
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought –
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone –

This is the Hour of Lead –
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow –
First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go –”

 

31. “I heard a Fly buzz – when I died” by Emily Dickinson

“I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –

With Blue – uncertain – stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see -“


32. “The Soul has Bandaged moments” by Emily Dickinson

“The Soul has Bandaged moments –
When too appalled to stir –
She feels some ghastly Fright come up
And stop to look at her –

Salute her, with long fingers –
Caress her freezing hair –
Sip, Goblin, from the very lips
The Lover – hovered – o’er –
Unworthy, that a thought so mean
Accost a Theme – so – fair –

The soul has moments of escape –
When bursting all the doors –
She dances like a Bomb, abroad,
And swings opon the Hours,

As do the Bee – delirious borne –
Long Dungeoned from his Rose –
Touch Liberty – then know no more –
But Noon, and Paradise

The Soul’s retaken moments –
When, Felon led along,
With shackles on the plumed feet,
And staples, in the song,

The Horror welcomes her, again,
These, are not brayed of Tongue -“


33. “I felt a Cleaving in my Mind” by Emily Dickinson

“I felt a cleaving in my mind
As if my brain had split;
I tried to match it, seam by seam,
But could not make them fit.

The thought behind I strove to join
Unto the thought before,
But sequence ravelled out of reach
Like balls upon a floor.”

 

34. “The Day that I was crowned” by Emily Dickinson

“The Day that I was crowned
Was like the other Days —
Until the Coronation came —
And then — ’twas Otherwise —

As Carbon in the Coal
And Carbon in the Gem
Are One — and yet the former
Were dull for Diadem —

I rose, and all was plain —
But when the Day declined
Myself and It, in Majesty
Were equally — adorned —

The Grace that I — was chose —
To Me — surpassed the Crown
That was the Witness for the Grace —
‘Twas even that ’twas Mine —”


35. “The heart asks Pleasure – first” by Emily Dickinson

The Emily Dickinson poem, “The heart asks Pleasure – first.”

“The Heart asks Pleasure—first—
And then—Excuse from Pain—
And then—those little Anodynes
That deaden suffering—

And then—to go to sleep—
And then—if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor
The privilege to die—”

 

What is my favorite Emily Dickinson poem?

Emily Dickinson’s poems leave me both awestruck and inspired so it is difficult to choose just one from her extensive collection.

But if I had to, my favorite one would be a poem I mentioned earlier: “Hope is the Thing with Feathers.”

I will include it again here:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers —
That perches in the soul —
And sings the tune without the words —
And never stops — at all —

And sweetest — in the Gale — is heard —
And sore must be the storm —
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm —

I’ve heard it in the chillest land —
And on the strangest Sea —
Yet — never — in Extremity,
It asked a crumb — of me.”

This piece reminds you that hope is something that will always live within you and support you even in your darkest hours.

Never forget the power of hope. This inner strength assists you through so many difficulties in life!


Related: 240+ Positive Quotes to Help DESTROY Your Bad Days


Frequently Asked Questions About Emily Dickinson and Her Poems

1. What are the main themes found in Emily Dickinson’s poems?

Emily Dickinson’s extensive list of poems explores themes of death, life, and other complexities of human life and emotions.

2. How did Emily Dickinson’s style of writing influence American literature?

Emily Dickinson used an unconventional writing style characterized by its brevity, slant rhyme, and short, poignant lines.
This is a drastic difference from the traditional poets of her time, but Dickinson’s style helped inspire modern poets to experiment with form, language, and expression to create their distinct voices.

3. Which Emily Dickinson poem is considered her most famous or significant work?

Many of Emily Dickinson’s works are considered to be famous and significant to American literature, so it’s hard to just choose one.
Particularly notable poems include “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” and “Hope is the Thing with Feathers.” Both poems explore aspects of mortality, a prime example of Emily Dickinson’s tendency to explore existential themes within her unique writing style.


I feel that Emily Dickinson’s poems are an amazing way to get started with poetry. They really capture your imagination and the visuals are always incredible!

And if you think so too, then let me know which Emily Dickinson poem is your favorite! I’d love to know. 🙂

 

Chasing Foxes was started in 2016 as a way for Grace and her husband, Silas, to start traveling. However, they started to realize that they had a passion for improving themselves, and wanted to help others level up their lives as well. So whether it's with cooking, travel, or staying healthy, they want to help you better your life bit by bit, as they do the same.

Leveling Up Your Lifestyle Lifestyle

Silas & Grace

Chasing Foxes was started in 2016 as a way for Grace and her husband, Silas, to start traveling. However, they started to realize that they had a passion for improving themselves, and wanted to help others level up their lives as well. So whether it's with cooking, travel, or staying healthy, they want to help you better your life bit by bit, as they do the same.

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