January 10, 2011

Winter Afternoons

Posted in Weather tagged , , , , at 7:59 am by Liliana

There’s a certain Slant of light

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 –

by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson



  1. Nena said,


  2. Jelena said,

    Hi, you two multilinguists.

    Thank you for posting this–it’s one of my very favorite poems. No one can touch Emily DIckinson for being playful and serious at the same time, or for her quirky, gorgeous language.

    • Liliana said,

      Thanks for saying that, Jelena.

      I have gotten some interesting comments on this posting – people think it’s too dark and depressing. I know that there are dark shadows in Emily Dickinson’s poetry, but that is part of her style and beauty.

      I don’t want to shy away from shadows.

      • Jelena said,

        Well, it IS dark in some ways, but also gorgeous in its language, rhythms, and imagery. Dickinson is not a “nicey nice” poet, but that’s one of the reasons that I Iove her poetry. There’s an unresolved tensionin her work: she’s always mindful of death and human inadequacy, but she also celebrates the present, the gift of nature, and genuine emotion..

      • Liliana said,

        I couldn’t agree more.

  3. Lillian said,

    The first line of this poem by Emily Dickinson is so deeply embedded in my
    mind…you can’t tell anything about the meaning or mood of the poem from just this line. I hadn’t recalled
    the rest of it, but thought it was a poem of pleasant nostalgia. When I read it here I was so surprised at its darkness.

    I say those lines aloud very often, because my cat Francesca likes to lie in
    the “slant of light” that the sun brings into the house and onto the floor from time to time.

    • Liliana said,

      Emily Dickinson is always surprising me. Depending on my mood and state of mind, I see all kinds of different meanings in the same old poems.

      Hugs to you and to Francesca.

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