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Analysis and comments on Safe in their Alabaster Chambers by Emily Dickinson

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Comment 5 of 25, added on November 3rd, 2005 at 1:39 PM.

I really found the use of dashes in this poem enhances the subject matter -
as they suggest the fragility and relative unstableness of life compared to

Emma A from United Kingdom
Comment 4 of 25, added on September 23rd, 2005 at 9:27 AM.

Be sure you look up the revised poem. It is much more profound in its
revision of the second verse and more true to Emily Dickinson's vision. a
comparison of the earlier and later draft would make a good topic for a

Susan from United States
Comment 3 of 25, added on April 19th, 2005 at 9:40 AM.

Alabaster chambers are not just coffins they are coffins made out of a cold
and very expensive translucent white mineral, some thing like gypsum.

I think when she says, Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection,
it refers to Christ's promise that the meek would inherit the earth and
enter heaven, i think she means they are still waiting, because otherwise
they wouldn't be still lying there, they would have been resurrected.

In stanza 2 it mentions bees and birds, suggesting/symbolizes spring, which
is the season of birth and life, this is a contrast with the feelings of
death and loneliness portrayed. The birds and bees sing and 'babble' but
the dead do not hear because their ears are stolid (impassive,

The Puritan tradition in which she was brought up, has the idea that God's
will can be seen in the working of nature, the birds are ignorant and know
nothing of the dead, and their efforts to comfort the dead are meaningless
because the dead do not hear. I think that emily felt as though God had
left her side. Gods will shown by nature was meaningless, God does not care
for her or the others, (the meek).

As for the perished sagacity, i am not sure although it sounds as if maybe
the wisdom known by the dead as to what happens when die, is lost here
because obviously they cant tell us.

Jess from Australia
Comment 2 of 25, added on January 27th, 2005 at 9:23 PM.

Here's what I got from the poem:

Alabaster chambers are coffins, the "rafter of satin" being the satin
lining on the coffin lid and "roof of stone" being the gravestone above.

The members of the Resurrection (the dead people) are sleeping, untouched
by time, and the world above is unconcerned with their passing; it goes on,
and they aren't aware of what goes on in it ("Babbles the Bee in a stolid

A year later she revised the poem and added a verse; it was the start of
the Civil War.

Lisa from United States
Comment 1 of 25, added on January 9th, 2005 at 8:11 PM.

I really like this poem. It is very solemn and provokes a strong image of
someone lying in their coffin.

Max from United States

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Information about Safe in their Alabaster Chambers

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 216. Safe in their Alabaster Chambers
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 11384 times
Poem of the Day: Jan 29 2002

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