I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, Eyes —
I wonder if It weighs like Mine —
Or has an Easier size.

I wonder if They bore it long —
Or did it just begin —
I could not tell the Date of Mine —
It feels so old a pain —

I wonder if it hurts to live —
And if They have to try —
And whether — could They choose between —
It would not be — to die —

I note that Some — gone patient long —
At length, renew their smile —
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil —

I wonder if when Years have piled —
Some Thousands — on the Harm —
That hurt them early — such a lapse
Could give them any Balm —

Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve —
Enlightened to a larger Pain –
In Contrast with the Love —

The Grieved — are many — I am told —
There is the various Cause —
Death — is but one — and comes but once —
And only nails the eyes —

There’s Grief of Want — and Grief of Cold —
A sort they call “Despair” —
There’s Banishment from native Eyes —
In sight of Native Air —

And though I may not guess the kind —
Correctly — yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary —

To note the fashions — of the Cross —
And how they’re mostly worn —
Still fascinated to presume
That Some — are like My Own —

Analysis, meaning and summary of the poem by

7 Comments

  1. roger schmeeckle says:

    I must modify my previous comment: “Poems,” published in 1896, did entitle the poem “Griefs,” and it did omit the fourth stanza. All ten stanzas, including the fourth stanza, were printed in “The New England Quarterly,” XX, (1947). These citations are from Johnson’s notes. Perhaps there is a basis for some genuine controversy, I accept Johnson’s versions, in the absence of any subsequent evidence to the contrary.

  2. roger schmeeckle says:

    Leigh, I do not know what is the basis for your criticism of the poem as reproduced.

    The fourth stanzs is included in the Thomas Johnson edition of the complete poems.

    Many editions of Emily Dickinson’s poems were published before a reliable, scholarly edition was published.

    “Griefs” is not the title of the poem. Emily Dickinson did not give titles to her poems. They are usually identified by their first lines, “I measure every Grief I meet” in this case.

  3. James says:

    Someone please help me find a credible source for this poem? I looked every where and could not find one. Please write back at my e-mail

  4. Leigh says:

    This is not the Emily Dickinson poem “Griefs.” I have the complete work of hers and this poem is so off from what I have read. The forth stanza isn’t even in the poem. I don’t know who wrote this or why they changed it, but I thought that I should warn all those out there that this is not the original poem in it’s true form.

  5. lucille says:

    she writes it like she knows the pain so sweet and sad.

  6. Tameka says:

    Does anyone have a summary over “I measure every grief I meet” by Emily Dickinson

  7. Chelsie says:

    This is one of my favorite poems of all time. It gives everyone a picture of her sorrow…and it shows how she wonders if everyone else hurts as she does, or if she is the only one. I love how at the end of the poem she gives a word of encouragement to the others who hurt as she does.

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