Emily Dickinson

(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886 / Amherst / Massachusetts)

After great pain, a formal feeling comes -- (341)


After great pain, a formal feeling comes --
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs
The stiff Heart questions, was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round --
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought --
A Wooden way
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone --

This is the Hour of Lead --
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow --
First -- Chill -- then Stupor -- then the letting go --

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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Comments about this poem (After great pain, a formal feeling comes -- (341) by Emily Dickinson )

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  • D.l. Aceves (12/24/2013 6:22:00 AM)

    This is the same as her last poem (#78) except this one's been corrected. Was the previous poem how she originally wrote it and someone edited it later? or were these poems uploaded by two different people? There sure are a lot of duplicate poems on this site. (Report) Reply

  • Tristan King (8/5/2012 3:16:00 PM)

    This poem describes perfectly the: going thru the motions of life existance after loss. (Report) Reply

  • Peya Jakob (11/4/2011 11:17:00 AM)

    Dickinson wrote for her own eyes. hence she wrote from the heart. she doesn't pull the punches. she writes with a resigned authority. in this poem, the pain is laid bare with careful strokes almost as if there is a higher power dropping the words into your soul.there are no specifics, no single heart, no single human heart... (Report) Reply

  • Chhavi Anupam (2/4/2006 12:41:00 PM)

    This is a very touching poem. One who has undergone deep agony, alone can identify.The state of being aghast, shocked has been so graphically described...a heart that cries, and questions the Supreme Being ' The stiff Heart questions was it He that bore'And finally if one outlive then can recollect the lead hour as Freezing men recollect theSmw...'first..Chill...then...Stupor....and then the final letting go.' That is after bearing the exreme limit, the acceptance comes silenty.Superb poem. (Report) Reply

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