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Monday, September 28, 2009

“Because I Could Not Stop For Death” by Emily Dickinson

I have just a few thoughts on “Because I Could Not Stop For Death” by Emily Dickinson. It is lighthearted yet not irreverent. It leaves me with the impression that death is not some far off evil in the night, but rather a gentle personality who leads us from one state to another. Now, as Christians we know that death, though our enemy, has been conquered by Christ’s perfect sacrifice. Nonetheless, I appreciate this poem for depicting a woman’s calm acceptance of death. She even appreciates the personification of death just as she might embrace an eligible bachelor she could marry and be content with. Each quatrain lightly skips along like a child on the way to school on a brisk autumn morning, unencumbered and sure of the destination. “Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me;” – Who would choose to die? And yet, since we must all die, why not envision death as a friend who will not let us forget our inevitable appointment. I love the fact that this poem can evoke thoughts of death and mortality that are neither depressing nor morose. “The carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality.” This causes me to see death as encapsulated by something larger than itself which makes death not as scary and makes me somehow equal to it since both death and I are both held in a carriage with Immortality. The entirety of this poem leaves me with a sense that death is something we must be comfortable with since it is a natural part of nature’s course in this sin sick world we live in. I am absolutely convinced that this was the author’s intent.

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