A Deed knocks first at Thought
And then — it knocks at Will —
That is the manufacturing spot
And Will at Home and well

It then goes out an Act
Or is entombed so still
That only to the ear of God
Its Doom is audible —

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem A Deed knocks first at Thought


  1. Alexander Ambrioso says:

    One interesting interpretation of this poem is that it is about a reclusive person’s inner struggle to action. It’s about the introvert’s struggle to open up to others. For example, the shy boy trying to ask a girl out or the genius poet deciding whether to share her poetry.

  2. Maddie says:

    This poem seems to be about the thought process of how something that starts as an idea becomes an act. It appeals first to your thought process and then to your ‘will’. If your ‘will’ accepts the ‘deed’ the ‘deed’ will become an ‘Act’. If not the ‘deed’ will become buried deep in your mind, where only God can discover what it was.

  3. Jack says:

    I believe that this poem is about the progress of a thought to an action and humanity’s ignorance in regards to the consequences of their actions. The reference to God suggests that, as the “Ultimate Being”, only he can fore-see the results of an action. Dickinson hints that we are all condemned because of this ignorance – ‘It’s Doom is audible’. ‘Will’ perhaps refers to morality, in this case whether or not to proceed with an action, thus the reference to it as ‘the manufacturing spot’. The last line of the first stanza suggests that any action will be executed as long as the ‘Will’ or morality of the individual is not compromised. The second stanza perhaps refers to the omniscience of God, and even if you do not act upon your thoughts, he can still judge you upon them.

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