Famous Sad Poem

In this poem, the speaker compares her grief to the grief of those around her. She talks about the different types of grief and tries to make this emotion tangible. Emily Dickinson’s poems have consistent components, and this poem follows many of them: dashes, capitals in the middle of lines, and four-line stanzas.

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Had I lived during her time and been fortunate enough to pass her on the road, she might have misjudged my level of grief. I would have been one of those wearing a smile, a smile with little...

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I Measure Every Grief I Meet

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I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, eyes –
I wonder if It weighs like Mine –
Or has an Easier size.

I wonder if They bore it long –
Or did it just begin –
I could not tell the Date of Mine –
It feels so old a pain –

I wonder if it hurts to live –
And if They have to try –
And whether – could They choose between –
It would not be – to die –

I note that Some – gone patient long –
At length, renew their smile – 
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil –

I wonder if when Years have piled – 
Some Thousands – on the Harm – 
That hurt them early – such a lapse
Could give them any Balm – 

Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve –
Enlightened to a larger Pain – 
In Contrast with the Love – 

The Grieved – are many – I am told – 
There is the various Cause – 
Death – is but one – and comes but once – 
And only nails the eyes – 

There's Grief of Want – and grief of Cold – 
A sort they call "Despair" – 
There's Banishment from native Eyes –
In sight of Native Air – 

And though I may not guess the kind – 
Correctly – yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary – 

To note the fashions – of the Cross – 
And how they're mostly worn – 
Still fascinated to presume
That Some – are like my own –

more Emily Dickinson

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  • by Penny L Strickland
  • 1 month ago

Had I lived during her time and been fortunate enough to pass her on the road, she might have misjudged my level of grief. I would have been one of those wearing a smile, a smile with little behind it. However, had she taken time to know me, she would have learned that our levels of grief were more than similar. I also wrote a poem about grief, though I never released it to anyone beyond my small group of friends, many of whom adopted it as their grief anthem. What they didn't know is mine was not referencing death of a loved one so much as it was the death of a life; my life.

Grief - like the Ocean -
Constant, unstoppable Human Emotion
I - like the Sand -
Helpless, hopeless, unable to Defend

A wave crashes in
Drowning, stealing, Grain after Grain
And then It retreats
Only to return

Again, and Again, and Again

My poem is not as perceptive as Emily's, because I no longer have the strength to look to others for comparison. I merely do what I can to get through each day.

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