Nobody Knows This Little Rose, Emily Dickinson: Summary & Analysis

"Nobody Knows This Little Rose" by Emily Dickinson delves into the delicate existence of a small rose and its significance in the grand tapestry of nature. Through its exploration of unnoticed beauty and the fleeting nature of life, the poem contemplates the impact of small, overlooked things in the world.

Nobody Knows This Little Rose

Nobody knows this little rose;
It might a pilgrim be,
Did I not take it from the ways,
And lift it up to thee!
Only a bee will miss it;
Only a butterfly,
Hastening from far journey,
On its breast to lie.
Only a bird will wonder;
Only a breeze will sigh;
Ah! little rose, how easy
For such as thee to die!


"Nobody Knows This Little Rose" portrays the unnoticed existence of a small rose that might have gone unnoticed had it not been picked and presented. The speaker contemplates the insignificance of the rose in the eyes of the world. It is a flower that only a bee, butterfly, bird, or breeze would miss, each in their unique way. The poem concludes by acknowledging the fragility of the little rose's life, expressing how easily such a delicate and unseen thing could fade away.

Critical Analysis

"Nobody Knows This Little Rose" delves into the theme of overlooked beauty and the fragile nature of existence. The poem's structure consists of short lines that emphasize the smallness and understated presence of the rose in question. The speaker, in a nurturing gesture, brings attention to the flower by "lifting it up" and presenting it to the reader.

The poem highlights the idea that the rose's significance isn't apparent to the world at large. The use of the word "pilgrim" metaphorically suggests a journey or a purpose. This idea implies that the rose may have had a deeper significance, but it needed to be elevated and noticed to fulfill that purpose.

The description of the bee, butterfly, bird, and breeze underscores the rose's connection to the natural world. Each creature has a unique interaction with the rose, whether it's a bee or butterfly using it as a resting place, a bird finding it intriguing, or a breeze gently interacting with its petals. These interactions represent the interconnectedness of nature and its ability to appreciate even the smallest details.

The closing lines reflect on the fleeting nature of the rose's existence. The words "how easy / For such as thee to die!" acknowledge the vulnerability of the rose's life and its potential to fade away quickly. This realization accentuates the need to appreciate the beauty and significance of small, often unnoticed things.

"Nobody Knows This Little Rose" encourages readers to consider the value of the unnoticed and to recognize the beauty that can be found in the simplest aspects of the natural world.


  • Unnoticed Beauty: The poem explores the theme of overlooked beauty and emphasizes the value of appreciating the small and often unnoticed things in the world.
  • Fragility of Life: The poem reflects on the fleeting nature of existence and the ease with which delicate and unnoticed things can pass away.
  • Interconnectedness of Nature: The interactions between the rose and creatures like the bee, butterfly, bird, and breeze highlight the interdependence and interconnectedness of all elements of nature.


  • Appreciation: The poem conveys a sense of appreciation for the small and often overlooked aspects of nature that contribute to the beauty and interconnectedness of the world.
  • Awareness: The speaker's act of "lifting up" the rose reflects a desire to bring awareness to the unnoticed and to share its beauty with others.


  • Metaphorical Language: The use of metaphorical language, such as describing the rose as a "pilgrim," adds depth to the poem's exploration of the rose's significance and purpose.
  • Imagery: Vivid imagery, including the bee, butterfly, bird, and breeze, paints a clear picture of the rose's interactions with the natural world and its surroundings.

Literary Devices

The poem utilizes several literary devices, including:

  • Metaphor: The rose is metaphorically described as a "pilgrim," highlighting its potential for a deeper purpose.
  • Imagery: The poem employs vivid imagery to depict the rose's interactions with various creatures and its place in the natural world.
  • Contrast: The poem contrasts the unnoticed nature of the rose with the significance it gains when elevated and noticed.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this poem in the comments section below and engage in a discussion about its themes, imagery, and emotional impact.

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