Morns Like These We Parted, Emily Dickinson: Summary & Analysis

"Morns Like These — We Parted —" by Emily Dickinson captures the bittersweet emotions associated with a parting and reunion. Through concise yet evocative language, the poem explores themes of separation, longing, and fleeting moments of connection. The contrast between morning and evening symbolizes the journey from separation to a sudden, unexpected reunion, highlighting the intensity of emotions experienced in each phase.

Morns Like These — We Parted —

Morns like these - we parted
Noons like these - she rose!
Fluttering first - then firmer
To her fair repose -
Never did she lisp it
And 'twas not for me -
She was mute for transport
I, for agony!
Till the evening nearing
One the shutters drew -
Quick! a sharper rustling!
And this linnet flew!

Summary

"Morns Like These — We Parted —" by Emily Dickinson narrates the experience of parting and unexpected reunion through changing moments of the day. The poem describes the departure during morning, the rise of the beloved during noon, and the reunion during evening. The speaker contrasts their muted responses—she was silent due to happiness, he due to pain. As evening approaches, the reunion occurs abruptly, symbolized by the drawing of shutters and the sudden flight of a linnet, representing the transient yet intense connection after separation.

Critical Analysis

"Morns Like These — We Parted —" demonstrates Emily Dickinson's ability to convey complex emotions through concise language. The poem explores the emotional spectrum of parting and reunion, skillfully employing imagery and contrast to evoke the intensity of feelings.

The poem opens with the assertion that during "Morns like these," the speakers parted. The mention of "Morns" signifies the beginning of the day and the departure from a loved one. The phrase "Noons like these - she rose!" contrasts the parting with the image of the beloved rising. The use of "Noons" suggests a turning point in the day, and the beloved's rise might represent both a literal awakening and a symbolic emergence from separation.

The progression from "Fluttering first - then firmer" describes the beloved's transition from uncertainty to a stronger, more confident state. The fluttering could represent a mix of emotions, and the shift to firmness reflects the establishment of comfort and repose.

The speaker acknowledges that the beloved "Never did she lisp it" and that it "was not for me." This suggests that the beloved did not speak of her feelings or the experience of parting, and the speaker was not the cause of her silence. The line "She was mute for transport / I, for agony!" juxtaposes the beloved's silence due to happiness and the speaker's silence due to suffering. This contrast underscores the depth of their emotions.

The shift to "Till the evening nearing" marks the progression of time as evening approaches. The mention of "One the shutters drew" suggests the closing of windows or barriers. The sudden "Quick! a sharper rustling!" signifies a sudden, unexpected sound or movement. This sound is followed by the flight of a linnet, a small bird, symbolizing the unexpected reunion.

The linnet's flight can be interpreted as a metaphor for the beloved's sudden appearance after the separation. The linnet's flight is quick and sharp, mirroring the swift change from separation to connection. The abruptness of the reunion creates a powerful contrast with the earlier parting.

Themes

  • Separation and Reunion: The poem explores the emotional journey of parting and unexpected reunion, highlighting the contrast between the two experiences and the intensity of emotions associated with each.
  • Contrasting Emotions: The contrast between the beloved's silence "for transport" and the speaker's silence "for agony" showcases the divergence in their emotional responses to the same event.
  • Transience of Moments: The poem captures the fleeting nature of moments, from parting to reunion, emphasizing the ephemeral yet powerful impact of these experiences.

Attitudes/Feelings

  • Longing and Pain: The speaker's feelings of agony and pain upon parting reflect a sense of longing and deep emotional distress.
  • Happiness and Connection: The beloved's muted response "for transport" suggests a sense of happiness and contentment upon reuniting, underscoring the profound emotional connection between the two.

Language

  • Imagery: The imagery of "Fluttering first" and "firmer" conveys the beloved's emotional progression, while "Quick! a sharper rustling!" paints a vivid picture of the abrupt reunion.
  • Contrast: The poem uses contrast between the two characters' emotional responses to accentuate the impact of the parting and the suddenness of the reunion.

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