Poetry Analysis Notes


The Sky is Low
by Emily Dickinson
interpreted by Beant Gill

The Sky is low -- the Clouds are mean.
A Traveling Flake of Snow
Across a Barn or through a Rut
Debates if it will go--

A narrow Wind complains all Day
How some one treated him.
Nature, like Us is sometimes caught
Without her Diadem.

Poet: Emily Dickinson was born in 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her father was a famous lawyer and representative for the congress for a year. As she grew older, she attended Amherst Academy. She traveled a few times to D.C. and Boston, but usually stayed at home. Some believe she was very separated from society, but she actually was extremely social even though she stayed at home a lot. After a lifetime at home, Dickinson died in 1886. She only had 10 published poems then, but after her death, over 2,000 of her poems were published.

Vocabulary: Diadem - crown

Type of poem:

Speaker: The author, Emily Dickinson

The reader

Tone: Very sad, dull

- This meaning has a deep and shallow point. Most people feel this poem is just Emily Dickinson explaining the weather outside in verse. Others feel the author is trying to show that nature is just like a human. Nature has its good and bad days. She explains that nature has ways of "traveling," such as a snowflake debating if it goes one direction or another. If it complains, there is a "narrow wind." But she sums the poem up by saying nature can have its bad days.

Structure of poem: Traditional Verse
- 4 lines per stanza with two equal stanzas
- The rhyme scheme is abcb defe
- Iambic with six feet per line and eight feet per line (alternating 6,8,6,8)

Examples of poetic techniques used in the poem:

"Clouds are mean" Personification
"How some one treated him."
End-Stopped Line
"Nature, like Us is sometimes caughtWithout her Diadem."
IRun-On Line
"Wind complains"
"Snow/ Across a Barn or through a RutDebates if it will go"

Connection between the poem and the poet's life and/or times: Emily Dickinson was very lonely at home and probably had her bad days.
She may have seen a gloomy day outside and felt nature felt just like her. This
poem relates her life alone to the complaining wind or the lost snowflake.

Most memorable quote from the poem:
"Nature, like Us is sometimes caught/ Without her Diadem."

© Smelli Notes 2001