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Emily Dickinson

(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886 / Amherst / Massachusetts)

Because I could not stop for Death (712)


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--

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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  • Rookie - 75 Points Ishita Chakrabarty (8/14/2014 2:22:00 PM)

    Love this poem. Death has been portrayed in a servile form awaiting our arrival. The way the author retells about the various stages of one's lives drift across while she is seated with death..amazing. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sheila Cameron (4/4/2012 8:46:00 AM)

    I have just discovered this stunning poem from the autobiography of the composer, John Adams. He chose it to follow John Donne's 'Negative Love' as the text for his work 'Harmonium' followed by another of her poems: Wild Nights'. He writes excitingly about the composition and first performance in 1981. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Edmond Williams (2/2/2012 2:29:00 PM)

    I find this poem ironic about the poet.
    She never left her house in ages.
    I knew what that was like. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Caitlin Daniel (3/3/2010 5:51:00 PM)

    I'm not going to lie.. I read this on a test in school yesterday. I never would have found this if it weren't for my teacher. I love how deah is personified and how she was about 14 when her 2nd or 1st cousin died. Also the fact that she was thought of as strange because she always wore white. WOW, can you think of anyone who is/was more obsessed with death? Scary that I know alot about her and I haven't even read her bio. What's funny is the fact that I'm just about to be in 9th grade..haha (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Shara D (10/3/2009 7:07:00 PM)

    this poem always tells me, death is inevitable but not necessarily scary, it makes me think, one's passing by in this world can indeed be very romantic.
    www.lugsong.blospot.com (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Michael Smith (5/7/2008 11:22:00 AM)

    Just found out bout' it today....first confusing....but after given it a chance.....this is an amazing work of out Emily has got here =] (Report) Reply

  • Rookie A R Taylor (4/29/2008 5:45:00 PM)

    Fine imagry. Marvelous beat. - of two white horses pulling, tugging, a dark enclosed carriage - toward eternity! I remember the scenery as I've looked out the window of a plane leaving the ground, and it turns into a space capsal as we pass the setting sun! Wow! (Report) Reply

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