Some things that fly there be —
Birds — Hours — the Bumblebee —
Of these no Elegy.

Some things that stay there be —
Grief — Hills — Eternity —
Nor this behooveth me.

There are that resting, rise.
Can I expound the skies?
How still the Riddle lies!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem Some things that fly there be


  1. frumpo says:

    The resurrection is a mystery.

  2. Benjamin Klinkner says:

    Emily Dickinson’s poem #89 observes the largest natural phenomenon, the sky, but an uplifting answer evades the poem’s speaker. The speaker observes what flies in the sky in 89’s first stanza.The second stanza holds “Hills” in the sky. We can assume that 89’s sky includes everything that surrounds the speaker, not just winged creatures, since hills begin and remain on the ground. The speaker contends that time or “Hours” too “fly there.” His/her inclusion of time’s flight paints 89’s sky for humans like water for fish: the speaker swims in the sky. He/she examines existence’s nature by examining his/her indescribable fishbowl.More than physical figures (animals and landscapes) and discernable concepts (time) reside in 89’s sky. The speaker feels the presence of “Grief,” “Eternity,” and spirits surrounding him/her (the thirds stanza’s “there are that resting” who “rise” are the sky’s spirits). 89 directly beholds physical, conceptual, emotional, and spiritual constructs. The stanzas’ last lines reveal the result of their speaker’s contemplation. “Birds,” “Hours,” and “the Bumblebee” receive no “Elegy” in 89’s first stanza. Dickinson’s speaker considers nature’s vitality and time’s infinitude. The sky’s permanent tenants, those “that stay there,” “Grief,” “Hills,” and “Eternity,” taunt 89’s speaker with their independence. The speaker acknowledges emotions’ and land’s endlessness and endlessness itself. He/she accepts how “Nor this behooveth [him/her].” 89’s speaker wonders, “Can I expound the skies?” in the poem’s thirds stanza, but he/she misses truth throughout the poem like all of us miss truth throughout life. The speaker only discovers “How still the Riddle lies” by 89’s end.
    Dickinson’s emphasized via capitalization “Riddle” follows the speaker and all others for life. The sky asks the “Riddle,” and hints at answers with “Birds,” “Hills,” “Hours,” “Grief,” “Eternity,” and all objects and abstracts, but 89’s speaker and everybody else can only wonder in impermanence.

  3. hs says:

    This poem is about the spirit world that was in constant communication with Emily….That’s where her poetry came from.

  4. Shimon Weinroth says:

    Diskinson philosophically explains and coupled with her relgious beliefs seeks an understanding to the riddle of life inorganic and organic, ” Can I expound the skies”. She states “Some Things there be” She mixes the concepts of Are and Be, by using the term things, living creatures bees and bumblebees are not things,(concepts and inorganic material are things). She is not especially amazed by the existence of things, what does behooveh her are seeds of life birth and the rebirth and the next life of tranquility (still) and eternity remain (still) the riddle. Ah but she says it so poetically. The Beetles answer part of her riddle “Let it be, let it be”
    In the following poem i point out the difference of are and be


    How incredible to be
    When so many things
    Are not
    That I am, and think to be
    That they are
    But canot be

    Shimon Weinroth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Emily Dickinson better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.