"Wild nights – Wild nights!" – A discussion of Emily Dickinson’s poem

"Wild nights – Wild nights!" – A discussion of Emily Dickinson’s poem

Wild nights – Wild nights!

was i with you

Wild nights should be

Our luxury!

Futile – the Winds –

To a Heart in port –

Made with the compass –

Ready with the chart!

Paddling in Eden-

Oh the sea!

could you tie up

Tonight – With you!

The poem

“Wild Nights” can be interpreted in a number of different ways, but the most obvious interpretation is that the poem expresses love, passion, and sexual desire. The opening stanza certainly gives the modern reader the image of a passionate encounter between two lovers. The second and third verses are much darker, creating a metaphor for the fiery experience with ocean imagery and nautical terms. Emily Dickinson was masterful in being able to imaginatively describe life’s mysteries with an economy of words.

While Thomas Wentworth Higginson, one of Dickinson’s mentors, was preparing the first edition of his poems in 1890, wrote to Mabel Loomis Todd, the co -editor: “Only a poem that I fear a bit printed, that wonder ‘Wild Nights’, not that the evil read in him more than what that virgin never dreamed. fact, it should not be mitigated. “

The use of the word “luxury” in the first stanza probably refers to an ancient use of the word, meaning lust and gratification. The phrase “heart in the port” in the second stanza can be interpreted as a lover’s embrace. The marine terms used in each line of the second stanza create the nautical metaphor. They also create the feeling that control has been relinquished.

The third stanza completes the watery, loving imagery. “Row in Eden” and “I dwell…in you” can be interpreted as sexual passion. “Ah! The sea!”

Each stanza of the poem is a short quatrain of four lines. Each line has a dimetric rhythm, which means that there are two poetic feet in each line. Most lines have iambic feet, as in the first verse. Each line in the first stanza has two groups of two syllables with the second syllable of each group stressed. In the second and third stanzas there is less regularity. Several lines begin with a trochee, a group of two syllables with the first syllable stressed. The verse, “To a heart in the port”, begins with a group of three syllables, called anapesto. Despite various irregularities, the poem flows smoothly and is easily recited.

The rhyme scheme in “Wild Nights” is typical of Emily Dickinson’s poetry. In each stanza, the second and fourth lines rhyme, although in the second stanza the rhyme is a good example of close rhyming.

With just a few words and a few lines, Emily Dickinson has captured the image of a wild night of passion.

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