Poet: Emily Dickinson
Safe in their Alabaster Chambers
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: Published/Written in 1955
Poem of the Day:
Jan 29 2002
Comment 14 of 14, added on November 23rd, 2011 at 2:55 PM.
With the bases loaded you struck us out with that awsner!
Comment 13 of 14, added on December 12th, 2010 at 11:34 PM.
I believe that there are actually three variations of this poem. No one so far has commented on the change of a single world that has profound effect on interpretation "Sleep the meek members..." Johnson v1859"LIE the meek memmbers..." Johnson. 216 1861, "SLEEP the meek members" Mabel Loomis Todd, and "SLEEP the meek members..." Franklin. Todd and Franklin offer only one version; Johnson, at least includes both. Sleep and Lie connote two very different things. One (sleep) is definitely biblical. They fell a sleep in the lord.
Almost all reputable critiques indicate that the poem is anti-resurrection. This was one of the six or seven poems published in her life time, and in a conservative newspaper. Those editors, while wishing to give it it a more Christian slant, may have enhanced the irony of its anti-resurrection theme by using SLEEP.
I know of no reputable critic who tries to link the poem to the Civil War. The earlier version predates the Civil War by three years, the later, by a year.
one of the real problems with Dickinson is that she left so many variation of her poems. The Bible is an Antique Volume alone leaves sixteen possible word choices to describe the "teller".
Her Fascicles seemed to be very definitive. Unfortunately, she stopped constructing them and early editors ignored and/or dismantled them.
regardless, all the versions are magnificent.
Frank C. Papaycik
from United States
Comment 12 of 14, added on October 31st, 2010 at 1:34 PM.
The author describes the surroundings of the dead, how they are unaffected by each new day, awaiting resurrection. She talks about nature going about its business as usual. I think she is referring to how quickly the dead are forgotten by their peers, and the mental acuity that perishes with them.
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