Finally conclusions are drawn regarding the way that form and content combine to deliver the poem’s key message to the reader.
The poem was written in around 1868 and the famously shy and private Emily Dickinson appears to have collected all her works together and to have shared them only with a few chosen friends, mostly by letter. Not many women had access to editors and publishers in those days, and so there are few others to compare her work with. It was not until after her death that her poems were published formally, and at this point her work received great critical success. Her poems are highly original, and the voice of the quiet, reclusive poet is recognized as a unique and valuable contribution to American poetry.
The structure of this little masterpiece is a mixture of regular and free components. The lines are arranged in pairs, with one line of eight syllables and one of six syllables. This creates a regular rhythm which is further emphasized by full rhymes in lines 2 and 4 “lies/surprise” and in lines 6 and 8 “kind/blind.” The other lines 1, 3, 5 and 7 do not rhyme, but there are alliterative elements throughout which create links across the whole poem, for example in the “s” sounds of the words slant, success, Circuit, superb and surprise (lines 1-4).