We grow accustomed to the Dark —
When light is put away —
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye —
A Moment — We uncertain step
For newness of the night —
Then — fit our Vision to the Dark —
And meet the Road — erect —
And so of larger — Darknesses —
Those Evenings of the Brain —
When not a Moon disclose a sign —
Or Star — come out — within —
The Bravest — grope a little —
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead —
But as they learn to see —
Either the Darkness alters —
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight —
And Life steps almost straight.
she is trapped in the darkness and she is trying to find the light. But the light is going away.
I think she wrote it to be individually interpreted, but the conclusion in constant, that is , Life takes over, Life always takes over.
In my opinion, the poem is about Emily Dickinson going blind and slowly getting used to the darkness that she lived in. Dickinson lost her vision because of Bright’s disease, a disease that affects the kidneys. One of the symptoms that the disease can cause is the person affected losing their vision.
I think that the poem is about humanity and our general fear of the future or the unknown. With “We grow accustomed to the Dark” and the rest of the first stanza, it’s stating that as we are surrounded in fear we become used to it, live in it, thrive in it. But there are times that this Darkness is not able to control people, and these people adapt to whatever fears or horrors they may see/witness and strive to break free with adamant endeavor. Stanza four tells of how of these people that resist the Darkness, there are a few that will undergo some sort of realization that sets them free of their fears and allows them to see truly, unhindered by emotional distortion. At this time the final stanza explains that the previously spoken is a turning point in the existence of the Darkness itself—that people either succumb to their fears and live without question of reality or people achieve a mental greatness that allows them to transcend the Darkness and mold it into whatever they desire it to be, effectively granting them control of their own perception of reality. Regardless, this is how “Life”, being in essence simply ‘the way things work’, occurs, and continues to do so in a constant pattern with slight hiccups every time the Darkness is defeated. This is the story of human nature and the mind.
It could be about overcoming a fear of death but I see it more as when one is plunged into a certain way of life, a darker or just plain less enthused way of life you stumble at first and then grow used to it. Like if you had a headache and it was there for days, never wavering eventually you would become accustomed to it, and carry on with it. Such as being thrown into darkness your eyes adjust and you can see. I think she just means that however bad things get and you think you might not get where you’re going you’ll get used to it, or get through it, or even just accept it and live with it as reality.
The poem calmly overcomes fear of the future, and I think, any fear of death. It has a soothing, comforting message that is like breathing fresh air on awakening on a warm spring morning.
Is there any particular reason that your copy of this poem doesn’t have the plural “darknesses” in the line: “And so of larger — Darknesses –?” As far as I know that is how it was originally written.
I know this comment was written over 15 years ago, but I came across it today. No, there’s no reason for the singular. An error must have crept in. I have corrected the line to read “Darknesses” as it should.