I sing to use the Waiting
My Bonnet but to tie
And shut the Door unto my House
No more to do have I

Till His best step approaching
We journey to the Day
And tell each other how We sung
To Keep the Dark away.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem I sing to use the Waiting


  1. Maurício Cléto says:

    The “sing”, the poetry, fill in the time – “to use the waiting” – and keeps the “dark away”. The light is desired – “journey to the Day”, which evokes luminosity. The prosaic image from the house, the locked door and the woman almost ready to sleep – “My Bonnet but to tie”, contradicts from the image inquietude from the poet awaked: the ordinary woman is ready to sleep, however the poet is not because she has a journey to complete to the day. “Day” may symbolize the hope and the way out from darkness.
    The intriguing in this poem is the pronouns “His” and “We”. Who is “approaching”? Who walks along the poet in direction to the day? It’s the other: a poet or the reader – otherness: the poetry approaches us to the mankind.

  2. Debbie says:

    For me the question is, what is the “Waiting?” In the context of her other poems, I see this poem in a wider context. When you don’t keep busy, it is easy to become depressed thinking too much about the human condition. I read “the Dark” to mean her preoccupation with death.

  3. Jose Lira says:

    This poem can be seen as a subtle metaphor on Emily Dickinson’s loneliness and want for recognition. She keeps making poems while she waits for fame to meet her. There are a number of other poems on this subject in Emily Dickinson’s work.

  4. toni says:

    housewife’s lament; waiting for her man to return; for they have longed for each other. thank you for reminding me of my past.

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