One Sister have I in our house,
And one, a hedge away.
There’s only one recorded,
But both belong to me.

One came the road that I came —
And wore my last year’s gown —
The other, as a bird her nest,
Builded our hearts among.

She did not sing as we did —
It was a different tune —
Herself to her a music
As Bumble bee of June.

Today is far from Childhood —
But up and down the hills
I held her hand the tighter —
Which shortened all the miles —

And still her hum
The years among,
Deceives the Butterfly;
Still in her Eye
The Violets lie
Mouldered this many May.

I spilt the dew —
But took the morn —
I chose this single star
From out the wide night’s numbers —
Sue – forevermore!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem One Sister have I in our house


  1. sky says:

    sisters are cool when they are older

  2. Katie says:

    The book’s called “Open Me Carefully,” and it’s now widely believed that Emily Dickinson shared a… somewhat sapphic relationship? with Sue Dickinson. While intimate female friendships were often common in the time period in which both women lived, the soaring and often amorous language “Sue – Forevermore!” suggests a relationship closer to lover than to ‘friend’ or ‘sister’.

    • Terri Rigby says:

      truly doubt it was sapphic…. sorry…. good friendship can be nonsexual

      • Terri Rigby says:

        she said “sister,” not “lover.”

      • elsa says:

        have you read her other letters to sue if you read the poems from “open me carefully” you can clearly tell that they had a romantic relationship

        • the.violets.lie says:

          I definitely agree with you. It’s evident from this poem alone. The last 2 stanzas are not something you would write for a friend. “And still her hum The years among, Deceives the Butterfly;” it’s almost like a dance between the two women. Followed by the idea that instead of smoldering violets, she instead found decaying ones, alluding to a passion that once was.

  3. ary says:

    this poem can make me feel …………… because I have a sister in my home. and she is a nice girl

  4. raechel says:

    i think what she was saying was this person helped her through life like how she said “up and down the hills i held her hand” i think that meant when life got tough that she stuck with her. it shows they had a very close relationship

  5. Teresa says:

    this was a very touching poem. She obviously had a very close relationship with someone who isn’t her ‘real’ sister but considered their relationship to be as ‘sisters’ can only be. Lovely.

  6. Hannah says:

    I thought this poem was great. It makes me think about true friendship and even though Susan (the sister that is referred to as being a hedge away) wasn’t her real sister, their friendship was so strong she thought of her as one.

  7. taylor says:

    thinnk that this is a very good poem . i really liked this poem !

  8. elatotswe says:

    according to her biography this poem literally reflects the kind of life that she lived, she was very close to Susan.this is very great because you can grasp something from the poem if you dont know her biography.

  9. Julie says:

    You have to realize that this poem reflects her life very literally. This poem isn’t about something that dickinson just made up. She lived with her sister Lavinia(One sister have I in our house) and she had a SISTER IN LAW Susan, her brother Austin’s wife who lived in a house next door to Emily and her sister(one a hadge away) She says that only on is recorded because Lavinia is her only biological sister but she considers Susan to be a sister to altough they are only related through marriage.

  10. cammy says:

    i really felt what she was trying to say in this poem i liked the way she expressed her feelings for her sisters and the way she was talking bout family

  11. Macey says:

    To me in this poem I think she is talking about the love for her sister. I am doing a report on Emily Dickinson. I like her poems.

  12. meghan says:

    i think brinety is the coolest person in the whole wilde freakin world im in school right now i got to abermarle middle sooo come track me down in rape me

  13. Brittany says:

    I first thought of my close friendships, and found this poem explained the differences and similarities between sisters of blood and of the heart. Emily Dickinson’s poetry has never failed to amaze me.

  14. Mindy Lynn Ellis says:

    The Sister in the house is her sister, Lavinia. The second sister she refers to is Susan Huntington Dickinson (married to her brother, Austin), whom she shared an intimate friendship with and lived nextdoor (“One, a hedge away”). As evidenced in the last words – “Sue, forevermore!”, they shared a very close and personal relationship that has only recently come to light in the book, “Open Me Gently” a collection of letters written to Susan by Emily.
    Of her more than 99 correspondants, she wrote to Susan more times than any of them over their 40 years of friendship.

  15. Jazz says:

    In this poem I think she is talking about one of her sisters that had died or something

  16. fuzzizle says:

    In the first stanza she says, “One Sister have I in our hous, And one A hedge away. There’s only one recorded, but both belong to me.” This makes me wonder if she had one real sister and the other was adopted or somehow welcomed into the family.

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