Famous Death Poem

A poem about emotional pain and grief, the body and minds reactions to terrible news. "After Great Pain, a Formal Feeling Comes" is a poem by Emily Dickinson about coping with intense emotional pain. The poet describes their numbed emotional state following a traumatic event. Dickinson uses metaphors and imagery to paint a vivid picture of the speaker's emotional detachment. The use of rhyme and a tight meter gives the poem a musical quality, emphasizing the speaker's numbness. It can be interpreted as Dickinson's own coping mechanism after experiencing a loss, but also applies to the reader's personal experiences and emotional numbness.

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After Great Pain, A Formal Feeling Comes

Emily Dickinson By more Emily Dickinson

After great pain a formal feeling comes--
The nerves sit ceremonious like tombs;
The stiff Heart questions--was it He that bore?
And yesterday--or centuries before?

The feet, mechanical, go round
A wooden way
Of ground, or air, or ought,
Regardless grown,
A quartz contentment, like a stone.

This is the hour of lead
Remembered if outlived,
As freezing persons recollect the snow--
First chill, then stupor, then the letting go.


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