If you were coming in the Fall,
I’d brush the Summer by
With half a smile, and half a spurn,
As Housewives do, a Fly.

If I could see you in a year,
I’d wind the months in balls —
And put them each in separate Drawers,
For fear the numbers fuse —

If only Centuries, delayed,
I’d count them on my Hand,
Subtracting, till my fingers dropped
Into Van Dieman’s Land.

If certain, when this life was out —
That yours and mine, should be
I’d toss it yonder, like a Rind,
And take Eternity —

But, now, uncertain of the length
Of this, that is between,
It goads me, like the Goblin Bee —
That will not state — its sting.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem If you were coming in the Fall,


  1. Another Anthony says:

    My perception of this poem may be bias due to the fact that a friend of mine wrote a hauntingly beautiful song based on this poem, but I am impressed by the poem. In honesty, who can fully grasp what Dickinson was writing “For who can know the heart of a stranger?”.
    She wrote here poems as an act of expression; maybe to relieve here pain, maybe to better understand her own thoughts, or possibly just as an act of obsession who can know? I see no wrong in trying to comprehend her emotions ,but the only two beings that will ever be certain of them are Emily and God.

  2. Guy Man says:

    The people who support this poem can’t substantiate their feelings for this piece either. They’re simply one of those who try and play themselves off as intelligent and cultured because they know a poem that sounds sort of pretty and they sort of know what it means. So shut your mouth and stop yabbering, you pretentious ninnies.

  3. Nina says:

    Get off this website, Anthony. It’s people like you (kids these days that have NO understanding or appreciation for real literature) that ruin these websites with their ignorant comments. Calling the great, misunderstood, genius Emily Dickenson a “loser” just proves how unbelievably childish and ignorant you really are. Anybody else with opinions like yours should just do their English homework without commenting because clearly you have NOTHING of importance to say. Leave the commenting for people who actually understand and appreciate what they are commenting on. Emily Dickinson was a genius, albeit a very reclusive, misunderstood one; but she was a genius. So if you’re going to come on this website and criticize her, why don’t you just keep your comments to yourself.

  4. Max says:

    Yes, I understand it, and lo, I still dislike the poem. Period. Just because one understands something, does not mean one must like said thing.

  5. Haley says:

    For all of you from the US, shame on you for being so ignorant. You make us all look bad. This is not about Emily Dickinson as a writer but her poetry itself. I do believe that those that don’t like it don’t fully understand it. I personally think it is a beautifully written poem, one i can relate to abundantly. As humans we are constantly waiting for everything, but this is a far deeper thing to wait for–namely love. Her whole life she loved but was never loved back. These people were not losers, but they were the people who needed to be loved the most. I encourage you to remember that the next time you see someone who has given up on their life.

  6. Daphne says:

    This poem relates to where I am in life and, of course, I’ve taken a shine to it because of that. While it seems so plainly written I believe there is a depth to it that can not be interpreted right away and, rather, needs to be contemplated in order to see the poem behind the poem.

    By the way, Dickinson was never married, I don’t believe she had cats, and while you proclaim she ‘has no life’ please keep in mind that when you’re you’ll be forgotten… and she’ll be remembered forever.
    For all your social activity you don’t seem to register she gave up what you have to lead a more pure life… which granted her immortality.

  7. Aaron says:

    this poem suck and she is a crazyyyyyyyyy hefa…because all she writes about is death and she is a lonely old woman with 56 cat and has no life…o yea sits there and waits on her dead husband(dumb)…but back to her and her no life…she has no lifeeeeeee….

  8. maya says:

    I think this poem about losing one who was loved, the absence and the waiting. she was certain of her love for him, but she didn’t know when they will together. I have read this poem in many editor, and I finded word and sentence that differ. i don’t know which one the right text.

  9. Whitley Wright says:

    The first time I read this poem, I didn’t appreciate it. Then I read it again, and I realized how emily felt because I feel it everyday. That feeling that draws you to someone. You love to see them smile, and you cry when they are in pain. Even though you love them, they don’t love you. But you enjoy their presence even if they don’t know that you exist.

  10. heather says:

    Van Dieman’s Land was meant to be a place far away from somewhere, as in she would count her fingers until they “dropped” waaaaay down in Van Dieman’s Land, which would take forever

  11. Erin says:

    I had to read a few poems by Emily Dickinson for my eleventh grade honors English class, and this was, by far, my favorite out of the ones I had read. The poem was rather easy to read, and I understood the theme almost automatically. The poem is obviously about time, love, and separation. She is unsure of how long she will be separated from the man, but is quite certain about her love for him (even though he was a married man..). She finds ways to pass the time until she can see him once again.

  12. rosa says:

    when i read this poem for the first time i was amazed on how she completely sumed up what i was feeling inside. i could only imagine that she felt the way i’m feeling right now when she wrote that poem. i don’t know if that guy she wrote about ever came back into her life but i hope he did. emily was a great poet and its tragic that she never realized her talent when she was alive.

  13. Emerald says:

    This poem begins so cheerfully, with swiping away the summer, and then grows more despondent as the time lengthens before she gets to see the beloved person she waits for. This is simply one of my favorite Emily poems, and I always think of my father when I read it.

  14. Rand says:

    This poem is really great and i know that sounds like a simple way to put what i think of it, but i think its suits it just fine. This is a really romantic poem and i wish i was this suave.

  15. Karlee says:

    The fourth line, second stanza should be
    Until their time befalls,

    I could be wrong but I am pretty sure that is right.

  16. NP says:

    This line is a metaphor for how she puts her fingers down under her palm as she counts the centuries. The fingers are going down under…Van Dieman’s Land in now Tanzania…an Australian state. Australia is the place down under.

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