Poetry is a vessel for all to come together and enjoy a piece of writing, even if the reader does not know it is an actual or hidden meaning. Many writers over the century and many before have had their writing style from having a specific type of structure to free verse. An extraordinary poet, Emily Dickinson, had written almost 1.800 poems throughout her lifetime and is seen as The Mother of American Poetry. Many of her poems were what she was surrounded with. Love, death, nature, law, and religion are just a few subjects that were enveloped in her poems. She made American poetry what it is today, and has inspired so many other writers of this generation. The poem “Love reckons by itself — alone” is a great example of her uses of imagery, themes, the structure and form provided, as well as numerous literary devices throughout her writings.
In “Love reckons by itself — alone” she writes:
Love reckons by itself- alone-
“As large as I’- relate the Sun
To One who never felt it blaze-
Itself is all the like it has- (Dickinson, “Love Reckons by Itself- Alone” Lines 1-4)
Looking at the poem at face value, without even reading it, the poem has a specific structure. When referring to “I,” Emily Dickinson does not necessarily mean herself, but perhaps the reader or another person. She also uses enjambment as the poem progresses. Dickinson is known for her poems being difficult to assess and find any underlying meanings, but that does not, however, mean it is impossible. When Dickinson writes, “Love reckons by itself — alone” (Line 1), she gives her first introduction of the poem. Looking at the definition of the word “reckons” is put into a 3rd person format showing, grammatically, that she is not talking about herself, but another person, putting into question where the reader might stand. To reckon is to calculate or to regard and consider. In the poem, Dickinson is saying that Love is regarding only itself and nothing else. Love is nothing more or less than itself as nothing could live up to it.
The author continues, “‘As large as I’– relate the Sun” (Line 2). The sun is a star in the universe that Earth revolves around, just like the other planets and their moon revolve around themselves. The sun gives Earthlight and reveals the planet and its features. This line could suggest that the sun is alone too. In the night sky, in Emily Dickinson’s room at which she never left, they too both are alone in this world. The capitalization of the sun could mean of some importance. Alternatively, she is referring to herself as the sun, since she is turning it into its own being due to her capitalization. The reader is ‘I,’ and so the reader can somewhat relate to this feeling of being outcasted and alone. Even though the sun is alone, is this case Emily Dickinson, she is strong and full of life, given that is how Christianity views the sun, at which it has been found Dickinson includes religion at times in her poems as well.
“To One who never felt it blaze –” (Line 3). At this point, it seems as though Emily Dickinson is relating “it” as being the sun, when, however, “it” could be love. To a person or individual of importance, since “One” has been capitalized, they have never felt the blaze of love. This view goes back to what “the Sun” is in line 2. It is unclear whether Dickinson is the sun or the subject of love. If it is love, then that could relate to the sun shining the brightest and hard to capture.
The final line states, “Itself is all the like it has—” (Line 4). This shows how it goes back into the loneliness of the sun and love. Even though it is by itself, they both are strong, bright, and rare. There is nothing else like it. Dickinson is stating that love is as unique as the sun. Emily Dickinson is known for making her poems resemble puzzle pieces. She gives the reader the part of the poem, the devices, and the themes, but it is up to the reader to put it together, whether the author likes it or not, the readers are going to want more and are going to find a way to piece those puzzle pieces together.
- Emily Dickinson Museum, emilydickinsonmuseum.org/poetry_characteristics.
- Hale, Richard Ricky. “Sun Tattoos: Meanings, Pictures, Designs, and Ideas.” TatRing, TatRing, 15 Feb. 2019, tatring.com/tattoo-ideas-meanings/Sun-Tattoo-Designs-History-Meanings-and-Ideas-Tribal-And-Celtic-Sun-Designs-Sun-Symbolism.