Victory comes late —
And is held low to freezing lips —
Too rapt with frost
To take it —
How sweet it would have tasted —
Just a Drop —
Was God so economical?
His Table’s spread too high for Us —
Unless We dine on tiptoe —
Crumbs — fit such little mouths —
Cherries — suit Robbins —
The Eagle’s Golden Breakfast strangles — Them —
God keep His Oath to Sparrows —
Who of little Love — know how to starve —

Analysis, meaning and summary of the poem by

1 Comment

  1. Joseph A. Drury says:

    At first this poem made sense to me. It reminded me of the Book of Revelations and how this late coming victory is judgment day. It also seems like she was trying to put forth a message that only God would make this world the way he did. He was “economical” in that God lets some suffer and others thrive. God, in her eyes, simply doesn’t offer enough to humans to satisfy our wants, but even more so, its like she’s saying that God was cruel to humans when he made this world, only giving us “breadcrumbs” as he gives the other animals their perfect existence.

    On the other hand this poem doesn’t make sense at all. Is she blaming God for the world he had created? Or is she reinforcing that God is good in everything he does? Is she denouncing her faith by saying that God is too cruel towards man to be good? These were questions I constantly pondered while reading this poem over and over.

    Some parts of the poem are like she tried to write in some random things to cause a mysterious effect in her poem. They just don’t make sense though. “Too rapt with frost”. Why would cold lips be delighted with being frozen?

    The only way this poem would make any sort of sense to me is if she is saying that the “freezing lips” are those of a dead girls and that she is smiling because she knows in her heart that a day will come when she will be judged by God and admitted into heaven, and that Emily sees this and questions Gods motives as to make her wait for almost an eternity. She also seems to look at the dead individual and question her own faith. In mentioning the starving birds and how man must be on tiptoe to recieve the smallest breadcrumbs, I believethat she is hinting that this person who rests dead there has lived their life in Gods name, and for what? Only to receive something almost insignificant that is almost an eternity away from now? She seems to think that this individual is being forced to wait until some sort of spiritual starvation to wait for almost an eternity to go to heaven. Perhaps she thinks that God giving mankind the knowledge to know starvation is cruel.

    Overall it was a descent poem, even if parts of it don’t make sense to me at all. What I got from the poem strengthened my relationship with God and I am thankful for that. That does not mean, however, that I share the same belief as Emily Dickinson seems to have. If anything, my contrdicting her belief is what made my faith in God stronger. Maybe others will be inspired to see this poem and receive the same message as I have. Who knows for sure, maybe this was Emily Dickinson’s true intent from the start.

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 better? If they are accepted, they 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.