This World is not Conclusion.
A Species stands beyond —
Invisible, as Music —
But positive, as Sound —
It beckons, and it baffles —
Philosophy — don’t know —
And through a Riddle, at the last —
Sagacity, must go —
To guess it, puzzles scholars —
To gain it, Men have borne
Contempt of Generations
And Crucifixion, shown —
Faith slips — and laughs, and rallies —
Blushes, if any see —
Plucks at a twig of Evidence —
And asks a Vane, the way —
Much Gesture, from the Pulpit —
Strong Hallelujahs roll —
Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul —

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem This World is not Conclusion.


  1. Allison says:

    my look on this poem is that she has doubts about her religion. She says, “Faith Slips- and laughs, and rallies- Blushes if any see” i feel that she is making fun of people that do have their doubts. she is saying that people occasionally loose faith in their religion, and that it is normal, but they blush if they feel like any one else knows. They blush because they are ashamed and they dont really want anyone else to know that they arent 100% sure of their religion. i beleive that it is hypocritical to say that you have complete faith but have underlying doubts. but i guess that thats why people blush and hide their true feelings because theyre afraid of people like me that will think poorly of them. but at the same time i wouldnt call you a hypocrite if you came out and said that you have doubts, because that is normal, it is abnormal to completely devote yourself and be completely comfortable in the idea of believing with all of your soul something that you have never actually witnessed, something that you were told to believe.
    i also get hints of life outside of the earth, meaning other planets. she says things like, “a species stands beyond”, “to guess it puzzles scholars- to gain in, men have borne”. i dont know, but this is just one of the first impressions that this poem had on me.

  2. Kassandra says:

    What genre is this poem classified under?

  3. TSteele says:


    Please stop to think. If you have read any of Emily Dickersons poems, you would know she is a christian and does in fact believe in God. This poem truly has nothing to do with whether there is or isn’t an afterlife at all. If you understand the time frame (what’s going on in the world around her) of this poem and actually listen to what she is saying. She is talking about the industrial revolution… How the craziness of all that is going on around the people of this time should not blind them from what is important, GOD! It is a huge jab at the enlightenment period. Its a cry out for people to see that the desire for such a change will dim the light that is God. She wants people to not forget. Artist, and those who saw the beauty in the world and in God, used this period to fight back and developed the romantic era in writing. So there a little history lesson at 4:00 in the morning for ya.

  4. Jillian says:

    I think Emily was trying to show her faith through this poem. If taken in the context of her other poems and what we know about how she was raised- she wasn’t trying to point out follies of faith but explain it. “I never saw a moor” explains her belief that she held the belief of her “ticket/ chart” to heaven. It might be nice to believe that such a great mind didn’t believe in something that seems so childlike as God but she most likely meant that she didn’t think this world is the end. Faith can sometimes be unexplainable and there are things even the “wise” can’t explain. Faith has its highs and lows but in the end you can’t ignore its presence.

  5. Nolitha Brutus says:

    I think that Emily Dickinson was expressing her feelings through faith, science, and death. In her poem “This World Is not Conclusion” I believe she was saying that death is not the end of this world. There is another life after death which I do know there is because God say so. She was also saying after we die there is another generation that comes after us, so really this world never ends it keeps on going and going till the second return of Jesus Christ our Savior who died on the cross for our sins. I especially love this particular poem, for it gives me the true knowledge about death. I learned that dying is not a big deal, because I get to live a new life again with God. I think it is soooo coool!!
    I am now writing a paper on this poem, so wish me luck.
    God Bless all of ya’ll who commented on this poem:-).

  6. Graham says:

    I think this is a great poem. Does an afterlife exist? Emily is having a poke that religion and science don’t have the answers nor is religion a ‘narcotic for the soul’. I don’t believe in an afterlife, but I do enjoy her description of various people grappling with understanding the ‘puzzle’.

  7. Steven Ford Leigh says:

    Sagacity sure is taking her sweet time! though she does profess to have run all night…

  8. Phoebe says:

    Dickinson was talking about humans butchering pure and simplistic faith and trying to validate God’s existance. She trys to condemn it but she knows its human nature to do so (ie the tooth cannoth be stilled) Im writing a paper about it… She was a brilliant lady

  9. Casey says:

    I don’t think this poem is about the ressurection at all. I believe that Dickinson is saying that there is no way of truly knowing anything. She shoots down every tool that humans use to figure out life – philosophy, scholars and more than anyone else, religious faith. When she says that faith slips, she is saying that it falters and when it gets back up it “plucks at a twig of evidence” – just a twig. A small piece of information – whatever it needs to prove its point. “asks a Vane the way” – A vane is a scientific tool – religion is asking science which direction to go. the poem was written during the rise of Darwinism and the Church was faltering with how to respond – people will faltering in faith. Overall though, Dickinson is stating that there is no way of being certain about anything. No matter what you believe or how strong you believe in it there will always be that one thing in the back of you mind that you grapple with – the unknown and unexplainable.

  10. Steven Laing says:

    What a poet . Contempt of generations evidenced by the crucifixion . This woman used her mind and expressed what arose eloquently . Unequaled !

  11. Colin Douglas says:

    I like this poem. It speaks to me of the resurrection. Seems like a reasonably orthodox if highly original exposition of life beyond death. Very positive! Very uplifting!

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