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Rhea Mitra

on 7 March 2013

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EMILY DICKINSON A DAY POEM I'll tell you how the sun rose,
A ribbon at a time.
The steeples swam in amethyst,
The news like squirrels ran.

The hills untied their bonnets,
The bobolinks begun.
Then I said softly to myself,
"That must have been the sun!"

But how he set, I know not.
There seemed a purple stile
Which little yellow boys and girls
Were climbing all the while

Till when they reached the other side,
A dominie in gray
Put gently up the evening bars,
And led the flock away. FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE SYMBOLISM The description of sunrise and sunset symbolizes birth and death.
Ribbons and yellow boys and girls represent innocence.
Ribbons, in this poem can also be referred to as vanity.
The frantic squirrels symbolizes the frantic pace of life that we lead.
Steeples and dominie symbolizes religion. Dominie symbolizes the call of God. IMAGERY "I'll tell you how the sun rose, A ribbon at a time" and "The hills untied their bonnets," describes the streaks of sunrise that grows brighter with time as it fills the morning sky.
The color "amethyst" is used to describe the sunset; however it has taken on a darker (purple) color.
Some religious images are also used in this poem, namely the dominie (clergymen) and steeple (of a church).
The dominie is described as taking the yellow children (rays of the sunset) away after they reach the other side of the stile (steps to climb over a fence). As they climb over the stile, the color of the sunset darkens indicating nightfall. The sun rays is regarded as ribbons.
The second stanza is an extended metaphor of life and death. This stanza is regarded as children climbing over the stile and getting herded by the dominic. METAPHOR "The news like squirrels ran" SIMILE The steeples swam and the hills untied their bonnet. PERSONIFICATION SOUND DEVICES Allusions The reference to the church and God
"steeples swam", "bobolinks begun", "were climbing all the while." Alliteration Assonance "how he set I know not" A-B-C-D-E-F-G-F
partly free verse only last four lines follow meter and rhyme scheme. RHYME MEANING OF THE POEM This poem is told in the perspective of an innocent young child, who forms his/her own conclusion about how the sun rises and sets. The first stanza talks about what a miracle a sunrises seems to be. It begins talking about the sun rays slowly peeking through, and in the child's mind, they appear like ribbons. The sky slowly turns amethyst, and soon nature awakens as the news of the sunrise travels throughout Earth. The bobolinks are small birds, and as the day began they have also started chirping.
The poem then shifts to the end of the day. For a young child who never stays awake so late, a sunrise is unknown and mysterious. The sky has darkened to purple. The yellow boys and girls are like rays of sunshine, going back home, led by the dominie, or pastor, to rest for the night.
Various parts of this poem make religious references to Christianity. For example the “steeples” in the first stanza is a synecdoche for churches. They also represent spiritual depth and height, since they lead heavenwards. “Dominie” is also a reference to Christianity since it basically means a minister or clergyman.
This poem can be interpreted an extended metaphor about life and death. A new birth brings new joy to the world, full of radiant light. Yet, death is always unknown. The light that first showed its rays is slowly taken back, little by little, to the other side that we would not yet see. The point of this whole poem is to show how fascinating the world is, if we look at it through innocent eyes. Whether we interpret it simply as a poem about the sun or about life and death, so much about the world is unknown and its all up to our imaginations.
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