An Example of Emotional Insight from Emily Dickinson

Vik RubenfeldPoemLeave a Comment

The diction here is a bit of a push for us – not because of the words used, which are all quite familiar – but just because poets used to take a lot of poetic license in pushing diction around all over the place to fit the meter and the rhythm and the rhyme and so on and so forth.  But take a look at it. This is one of the first examples my teacher, Mrs. Olivier, ever showed me to teach me what an emotional insight is.

The manner of the Children —
Who weary of the Day —
Themself — the noisy Plaything
They cannot put away —

All these years later, I can still remember the exact words Mrs. Olivier recalled this poem in. She didn’t recall it quite correctly. But the way she recalled it has plainer diction.

Like weary children —
At the end of the Day —
Themselves — the tired playthings
They cannot put away —

If you just take a minute to work through the diction of either version, I think you can pick up on this pretty easily. Do you feel that? Do you feel the emotions of those kids, tired and wanting to go to sleep?

The original is by Emily Dickinson.  If you want to get a little something extra, try feeling every word of both versions with your whole heart. You’ll see that Emily Dickenson’s  is  better.

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