“There is Another Sky” by Emily Dickinson

EmilyDickinson

There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;
Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields—
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;
Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum:
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come!

Recently, my friend Nancy posted one of those quizzes on Facebook to see which “famous poem was written about you.” I got this one, which I had never read before. So, I figured if it was written about me, I should probably read it (LOL).

Since I confess not being familiar with Emily Dickinson’s works (bad English major), I did a quick search and learned that she was very introverted, even more so than I am. I also learned that Austin, mentioned in the poem, was her brother. There seems to be a lot of speculation online regarding Emily’s relationship to Austin, which some claim was incestuous. The first time I read through this poem, I could see how people could make that assumption. But I decided I should clear my mind of this preconception and read it again objectively.

As a somewhat reclusive introvert, I am very familiar with the joy of escaping into my own world of imagination, which for me includes music, reading, writing, films, solitary walks in the woods, and such. I sense that Emily created her own world within her mind, one of beauty and serenity. From the little bit I read about Austin, I know that he was a lawyer and I can only assume not one who spent a lot of time indulging his imagination. As such, I see this poem as Emily’s invitation to her brother to share her thoughts, to enter the realm of her imagination and share in the joys of creative expression. I see her garden as a symbol for the fertile part of her mind from which her poetic flowers grew and blossomed. She is inviting him in to her secret, secluded world, to see who she is deep inside, and allow him to understand who she is and how she expresses her inner self.

In our modern society, it is easy to take a cynical view of things, especially artistic expression. I’m guilty of this on occasion. But with this poem, I am going to say that I think it is a genuine expression of caring for her brother and wanting to share who she is inside with him. I suspect I will be reading more of Emily’s poems in the near future. Let me know if you have a favorite.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to ““There is Another Sky” by Emily Dickinson

  1. Ariel

    It took a really amazing English prof to show me how amazing ED is. I’m so glad she challenged my assumptions and narrow thinking. I think she’s a recolutionary – good reminder of my love for her, thanks!

  2. Emily Dickinson is a fantastic poet. I also feel I owe her more allegiance than I have shown. The poem that (supposedly) describes you is really beautiful. I agree that Freudian interpretation is way too much in this case.
    Usually I avoid those ridiculous facebook quizzes but I also did this one and got Dylan Thomas’s “And Death Shall Have No Dominion.” Actually – spot on for me.

    • Hi Monika, and Happy New Year!

      LOL – you strike me as someone who would reject anything Freudian on principle 😉

      Usually, I only take one of those FB quizzes for kicks and giggles, but this one piqued my interest. Now I’m wondering if they have a “What archetype are you?” or “What symbol best represents you?” quiz out there.

      Cheers!

      Jeff

  3. What an interesting post… I had no idea about Dickinson’s presumably relationship with his brother~
    “Anyhow I much enjoyed these verses
    Here is a little forest,
    Whose leaf is ever green;
    Here is a brighter garden,
    Where not a frost has been”..
    I agree with you when you say that the garden might be a symbol “for the fertile part of her mind from which her poetic flowers grew and blossomed” And that she is therefore inviting him to join her over there.
    But even If I tried I couldn’t read anything that might suggest an incestuous bond!… on the contrary, the poem seems mostly spiritual!.
    Excellent analysis dear Jeff… I can’t but congratulate you for this one! ⭐ Happy 2015 ahead to you, my friend, Aquileana 😀

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