The difference between Despair
And Fear — is like the One
Between the instant of a Wreck
And when the Wreck has been —

The Mind is smooth — no Motion —
Contented as the Eye
Upon the Forehead of a Bust —
That knows — it cannot see —

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem The difference between Despair


  1. frumpo says:

    What despair is like.

  2. [pretty.petty.heart] says:

    Emily Dickinson continues to amaze me with her talent at shoving so much emotion and understanding and beauty into such a short poem. This poem perfectly describes the two emotions she’s tackled…despair and fear, and how closely they are related. I wish she would have kept going with this one. It’s subtle strength and insistence is overpowering, and demands that you pay all your attention to it, in case you miss something critical. Rereading and rereading this gives me a better sense of where she was coming from, but we will never ever be able to know exactly what she was feeling at the time of writing this. She is an amazing poet, and I strive to have just one moment of clarity in my writing that she seems to have in all of hers. Once again…WOW.

  3. Jolene says:

    This poem is so perfectly descriptive of almost every emotion a person can have. An emotion that is directed with the part of your mind that can not directly analize what they are seeing, yet actually feeling with the unseen eye.

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