Emily Dickinson’s Love Poems: An Analysis of Emily Dickinson’s Poems about Love

I love football, chainsaws, boxing, dogs, and wrestling. I am, in short, a man’s man. That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t read and appreciate love poems by Emily Dickinson.

Although there is no one meaning for most poems, here I’ve offered my view of some of the many love poems by Emily Dickinson.

Quick Lesson Plan

Here’s a little something I threw together to make your visit more useful and productive: Theme of Death in Emily Dickinson’s Poems. I’m sure you can adapt this fine lesson plan for Dickinson’s love poems. You can also check out the Emily Dickinson Teacher Page.

I feel it’s important to give you something you can use in your classroom right now.

Emily Dickinson Lesson Plans

Just because you love discussing poetry doesn’t mean your students do. These lesson plans will help your students create intelligent discussion topics for several Emily Dickinson poems. Download. Print. Copy. Teach.

Far from Love the Heavenly Father

FAR from love the Heavenly Father
Leads the chosen child;
Oftener through realm of briar
Than the meadow mild,Oftener by the claw of dragon
Than the hand of friend,
Guides the little one predestined
To the native land.

Analysis of “Far from Love the Heavenly Father”

Facts and Comments

  1. Rhyme Scheme: x a x a; second stanza uses slant rhyme.
  2. Paradox shows that Heavenly Father’s love is tough love.
  3. Irony: chosen child is led through briars, not meadows; the chosen child is lead by the claw of a dragon, not by a friend.
  4. Dickinson’s Calvinistic leanings toward predestination comes forth in the last two lines. Her idea of those predestined, and those who are “chosen” contrasts the traditional idea of the “chosen” ones.
  5. Metaphors: briar = the pains of life; meadows = easiness; claw of dragon = those who seek to harm you.
  6. Use of the word guide in line 7 demonstrates that, despite appearances, Heavenly Father is in control.

In Emily Dickinson’s “Far from love the Heavenly Father,” the speaker examines the paradoxical view that through trials and tribulations are the chosen brought to heaven. It is not an evil-doer who brings about trials, but the very Father in Heaven who does so. Although the images suggest the action in the poem takes place in the physical realm, a more pragmatic, worldly application can be found: those who seek comfort, rarely find it; those who take upon themselves challenges, eventually do find comfort. Unlike Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” which suggests individuals choose their path, Dickinson implies that the path is thrust upon the individual, an assertion supported by her Calvinistic beliefs.

Heart, We Will Forget Him

Heart, we will forget him!
You an I, tonight!
You may forget the warmth he gave,
I will forget the light.When you have done, pray tell me
That I my thoughts may dim;
Haste! lest while you’re lagging.
I may remember him!

Analysis of “Heart We Will Forget Him”

Facts and Comments

  1. Rhyme Scheme: x a x a
  2. The exclamation points at the end of lines 1 and 2 demonstrate the speaker’s determination in forgetting her love.
  3. The exclamation point at the end of line 8 demonstrates the futility in even trying.
  4. The exclamation pont following haste in line 7 demonstrates the difficulty the speaker is having.
  5. Heart is personified.
  6. The word him at the end of the first line and the last line puts the focus in the “him” trying to be forgotten.

Dickinson captures the inner turmoil associated with love and rejection in “Heart, we will forget him.” She vows to her heart, personified as a dear friend, that they will forget “him.” While in the act of forcing herself to forget, the speaker focuses on the person whom she is trying to forget and his good qualities. She realizes she and her heart are fighting a losing battle as the speaker urges her heart to forget quick, for she is helpless to forget otherwise.

Proud of My Broken Heart, Since Thou Didst Break It

Proud of my broken heart, since thou didst break it,
Proud of the pain I did not feel till thee,Proud of my night, since thou with moons dost slake it,
Not to partake thy passion, my humility.Thou can’st not boast, like Jesus, drunken without companion
Was the strong cup of anguish brewed for the NazareneThou can’st not pierce tradition with the peerless puncture,
See! I usurped thy crucifix to honor mine!

Analysis of “Proud of My Broken Heart Since Thou Didst Break It”

Facts and Comments

  1. Rhyme Scheme: a b a b
  2. Meter: iambc pentameter with a final line Alexandrine
  3. The last line’s change in meter draws attention to the end result of her love: humility.
  4. Paradox: The speaker’s pain is looked upon proudly, having come from the one she loved.

The speaker in Emily Dickinson’s “Proud of my broken heart since thou didst break it” is pathetic. I’m not sure if the object of her desire has a restraining order, but he should. She’s proud to have been dumped? Sounds like someone has a self esteem issue, which she rationalizes as humility. If Dickinson lived in a trailer park, she’d be prime for an abusive relationship. No wonder she was a reclusive freak.

Share This: