Some, Too Fragile For Winter Winds, Emily Dickinson: Summary & Analysis

"SOME, TOO FRAGILE FOR WINTER WINDS" by Emily Dickinson contemplates the delicate and vulnerable aspects of life that are protected and preserved by the grave. The poem uses vivid imagery to depict the gentle care provided by death, highlighting the idea that death can shield certain precious qualities and individuals from the harshness of the world. The poem invites readers to reflect on the hidden and tender aspects of life that are safeguarded by the thoughtful grave.


Some, too fragile for winter winds
The thoughtful grave encloses —
Tenderly tucking them in from frost
Before their feet are cold.

Never the treasures in her nest
The cautious grave exposes,
Building where schoolboy dare not look,
And sportsman is not bold.

This covert have all the children
Early aged, and often cold,
Sparrow, unnoticed by the Father —
Lambs for whom time had not a fold.


"SOME, TOO FRAGILE FOR WINTER WINDS" reflects on the role of the grave in protecting delicate and vulnerable aspects of life. The poem presents the grave as a place of tender care, gently tucking away those who are too fragile to withstand the harshness of winter winds. The poem also explores the notion that the grave shields precious treasures and individuals from the world's challenges, allowing them to remain hidden and preserved from harm. The poem suggests that the grave serves as a sanctuary for those who are tender, sensitive, and in need of protection.

Critical Analysis

The poem opens by describing those who are "too fragile for winter winds," emphasizing their vulnerability and susceptibility to harsh conditions. The "thoughtful grave" is portrayed as a caretaker that tenderly shelters these delicate individuals from the cold and frost, demonstrating a compassionate gesture.

The speaker contrasts the grave's protective nature with the notion that it never exposes the treasures within its nest. This metaphor highlights the idea that the grave preserves and safeguards valuable qualities or individuals, preventing them from being subjected to scrutiny or harm.

The poem implies that the cautious grave is a place where schoolboys and sportsmen do not dare to venture, underscoring its mysterious and solemn nature. This covert sanctuary is described as a refuge for "children early aged, and often cold," suggesting that it provides comfort and protection for those who have experienced hardships or challenges.

The final lines depict the grave as a shelter for the unnoticed and vulnerable, such as the sparrow unseen by the Father and the lambs for whom time had not provided a fold (a protective enclosure). These images further emphasize the idea that the grave serves as a haven for those who require care, shielding, and preservation.


  • Protection and Preservation: The poem explores the theme of protection and preservation, highlighting the grave as a place that shelters delicate and vulnerable aspects of life from the harshness of the world.
  • Vulnerability and Sensitivity: The poem reflects on the vulnerability and sensitivity of certain individuals and qualities, suggesting that they require special care and safeguarding.
  • Hidden Aspects of Life: The poem contemplates the idea that certain precious qualities or individuals remain hidden from the world's view, shielded by the grave's careful enclosure.


  • Compassion and Care: The poem conveys a sense of compassion and care through its depiction of the grave as a thoughtful caretaker, tenderly protecting fragile individuals from harsh elements.
  • Respect for Vulnerability: The poem expresses a respect for vulnerability and sensitivity, suggesting that these qualities are worthy of preservation and safeguarding.

Literary Devices

  • Metaphor: The poem employs metaphors to depict the grave as a "thoughtful" caretaker and a "covert" sanctuary, emphasizing its protective and hidden nature.
  • Imagery: The poem uses vivid imagery to evoke the idea of delicate individuals being tenderly tucked away from winter winds and protected within the grave's shelter.

Discussion Question

How does Emily Dickinson's portrayal of the grave as a protective and tender caretaker in "SOME, TOO FRAGILE FOR WINTER WINDS" contribute to the overall theme of vulnerability and preservation?

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