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Emily Dickinson - They say that "Time assuages" --

They say that "Time assuages" --
Time never did assuage --
An actual suffering strengthens
As Sinews do, with age --

Time is a Test of Trouble --
But not a Remedy --
If such it prove, it prove too
There was no Malady --

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Added: Jan 9 2004 | Viewed: 10498 times | Comments and analysis of They say that Comments (4)

They say that "Time assuages" -- - Comments and Information

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 686. They say that "Time assuages" --
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: Published/Written in 1955

Comment 4 of 4, added on March 17th, 2009 at 10:32 AM.

I wonder what she meant by "sinews." Surely she was acquainted with a common infirmity of aging -- arthritis.


L. V. Lawrence from United States
Comment 3 of 4, added on February 18th, 2009 at 5:12 PM.

I've never agreed that the poem stands for the proposition that we become stronger over time and thus more able to handle sorrow.

I think the expression "time assuages" is meant to refer to the adage "time heals all wounds" and what she's saying is that's simply not true. That true sorrows become tougher with age, as does sinew.

I think of how our joints, when injured, become stiffer. the hurt isn't as strong as when we first are injured, but the stiffness, the toughness, is a constant reminder. I think the poem means that we may survive our troubles, but we are always affected by them, and our strong sorrows only become more so as we age, because we become more, not less keenly aware of the true cost of our suffering over time, although the symptoms may not appear as acute.




Diane from United States
Comment 2 of 4, added on April 16th, 2007 at 11:34 AM.

Emily Dickenson understands the long term reality of a deep loss --- such as a loved one. One doesn't "get over it". Rather one gets stronger and can carry it. Today I am sharing this with a friend who just lost two brothers to cancer.

Norm from United States

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