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Emily Dickinson (1830–1886) is one of the most celebrated American poets of the 19th century. Despite her fame, she remains a mysterious figure. She spent most of her life in seclusion but despite this reclusive lifestyle, Dickinson produced an astonishing body of work that explored a wide range of themes and emotions.
Though her poetry was largely unknown during her lifetime, Dickinson’s work has since become celebrated for its originality, vivid imagery, and deeply personal themes, including life, love, and death.
Dickinson’s poems and quotes have a way of capturing the essence of a concept and distilling complex ideas into a few simple yet perfectly chosen words.
In this blog post, I have shared 23 of the most memorable Emily Dickinson quotes and examined what makes them so enduringly resonant with readers today.
23 Emily Dickinson Quotes (Analysis)
If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.Emily Dickinson
It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives, our own problems, and forget that there are people out there who are going through even tougher times than we are.
That’s why Emily Dickinson’s words are a beautiful reminder that even if we can’t solve all the world’s problems, we can still make a difference in someone’s life.
Think about it: if you could make just one person’s day a little brighter, a little easier, a little happier, wouldn’t that be worth it? Of course, it would.
And that’s exactly what Dickinson is getting at. She’s saying that our lives have meaning when we use them to help others. When we make a difference in someone’s life, even in a small way, we are living our lives to the fullest.
Forever is composed of nowsEmily Dickinson
Tick-tock goes the clock, marking the passage of time, second by second, minute by minute. We often get lost in the whirlwind of life, thinking of the past or dreaming of the future.
Yet, in doing so, we forget the most valuable currency we possess – the present moment. The present moment is all we have, and it’s what ultimately shapes our future.
Think about it – what are you doing with your now? Are you making it count, or are you letting it slip away? We often hear people say, “I’ll start tomorrow.” But, what if tomorrow never comes? Don’t let the chance to create something beautiful slip away. Use every now to create a masterpiece, to write a story that will be told for generations to come.
Forever is not a destination; it’s a journey. It’s not something that we can attain, but rather something that we create, one moment at a time. Each moment is a building block, a piece of the puzzle that makes up the bigger picture. So, cherish each moment, because, in the grand scheme of things, every now counts.
That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.Emily Dickinson
All too often, get caught up in the daily grind, but we must remember that time waits for no one.
Each passing moment is a reminder that we will never have this exact experience again. The people we love, the moments we cherish, and the memories we make are all unique and irreplaceable.
When we acknowledge the transience of life, we are forced to confront our own mortality. It may seem morbid, but it’s a necessary step in living a fulfilling life.
Accepting that life is finite pushes us to make the most of the time we have. It inspires us to pursue our dreams, take risks, and live in the moment. In conclusion, life is a precious gift that should be cherished.
When we dwell in possibility, we embrace the unknown, and we open ourselves up to new experiences, perspectives, and ways of thinking.
It’s a mindset that challenges us to push beyond our limitations and explore the boundaries of what is possible.
In many ways, dwelling in possibility is a form of courage. It’s the willingness to take risks, venture into the unknown, and trust in our own abilities to navigate unfamiliar territory. It’s about letting go of our fears and allowing ourselves to be guided by our curiosities.
All in all, by living in possibility, we become architects of our own fates, and we shape the world around us in ways we never imagined.
Hope is the thing with feathersEmily Dickinson
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
Just think about that for a moment. A bird in your soul! It’s a magical idea, but it captures the essence of what hope truly is. Like a bird, hope is light and agile. It’s always within reach, ready to land on our shoulders when we need it most.
But why feathers? Perhaps it’s because hope needs to be strong enough to weather the storms, but soft enough to give us comfort when we need it most.
And what about the song? Hope’s song is a melody that is felt, not heard. It’s a tune that resonates deep within us, even when we can’t quite put it into words.
Finally, the most remarkable thing about hope is that it never stops singing. It’s a constant presence in our lives. It’s always there, waiting to be discovered or rediscovered, like a faithful companion that never abandons us.
The Heart wants what it wants – or else it does not care.Emily Dickinson
The heart is a complex and mysterious entity, one that can lead us down paths of great joy or immense pain. It is the source of our passions, our loves, and our fears. It is the center of our emotions, the place where we feel the most alive.
And yet, it is also the place where we feel the most vulnerable, for it is here that we expose our true selves to the world.
But what happens when our heart’s desires conflict with our reason or our sense of morality? This is where the quote becomes both liberating and terrifying, implying that we have little control over our desires.
The heart wants what it wants, and it’s up to us to listen to it. It requires us to take responsibility for our desires and our actions. It is a choice that ultimately defines who we are and what we become.
I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.Emily Dickinson
We often get caught up in our responsibilities, our relationships, and our desires, and forget to take a step back and introspect. We become so busy chasing after what we think we want that we forget to ask ourselves what it is that we truly need.
That’s where the lanterns come in. They represent the light that we need to guide us in the darkness. It’s not always an easy journey. This quest for self-discovery can be scary, and even painful at times.
Yet it’s also a journey well worth taking since when we know ourselves deeply, we can live a life that is true to our values, passions, and purpose.
So, let us take up our lanterns and begin our search. Let us illuminate the darkness within and without, and find the light that has been waiting for us all along.
The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.Emily Dickinson
To keep our souls “ajar” is to live with a sense of curiosity and wonder.
It’s to embrace the unknown and to be willing to take risks. It’s to let go of our fears and allow ourselves to be fully present in each moment. In doing so, we give ourselves the chance to experience life in all its richness and complexity.
Taking a cue from Emily Dickinson, let us all keep our souls “ajar.”
Let us be prepared to embrace the ecstatic experience, wherever it may lead. Because only by remaining open to the world around us can we truly live.
Beauty is not caused. It is.Emily Dickinson
Beauty is a force of nature, an ethereal essence that exists independent of any external influence. Beauty can be felt, but not necessarily seen, heard, or touched. It’s not something that can be created, manipulated, or controlled. It simply is.
But beauty is not just a physical quality. It can also be found in the intangible elements of life, such as love, kindness, and compassion.
And perhaps the most profound aspect of beauty is its ability to evoke emotion.
It has the power to move us in ways that are both profound and indescribable. It can inspire us to create, love, hope, and dream. It is a reminder that we are part of something greater than ourselves, and that we are all connected in some mysterious way.
To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.Emily Dickinson
We live in a world that is constantly moving, constantly demanding our attention.
We are bombarded with information, distractions, and obligations that can leave us feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life, but in doing so, we risk missing out on the small moments that make life worth living.
To truly live is to embrace the unexpected, take risks, and cherish every moment. So, let’s take a moment to breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun on our face, and appreciate the startling beauty of life.
Truth is so rare, it is delightful to tell it.Emily Dickinson
The idea of truth being a rarity is something that we can all relate to. We’ve all been in situations where we’ve been misled, intentionally or not. We’ve all had moments when we’ve been unsure of whether we can trust what someone is telling us.
But when we do encounter truth, it’s like a breath of fresh air. It’s a feeling of relief, of knowing that we can finally rely on something that is solid and dependable.
So why is it that truth is so rare? Perhaps it’s because it’s often easier to tell a lie than to face the consequences of telling the truth. Maybe it’s because people are afraid of being vulnerable and exposing themselves to others.
But the truth is, without truth, we cannot build meaningful relationships or make informed decisions. Without truth, we cannot create a just and fair society. Without truth, we cannot even begin to understand ourselves and the world around us.
Hold dear to your parents for it is a scary and confusing world without them.Emily Dickinson
Our parents are the ones who have been with us from the beginning. They have provided us with a sense of security and stability, even when everything else in our lives may have been in turmoil. They have been our teachers, our protectors, and our role models.
But as we become more independent we may think that we no longer need them as much but the truth is, we never outgrow the need for our parents. No matter how old we are, we will always need their love, support, and guidance.
And when we lose our parents, whether it be through death or estrangement, we are left with a void that can never truly be filled. We may feel lost and alone like we’re adrift in a sea of uncertainty.
So let us cherish the time we have with them, for in a world that can be so frightening and uncertain, our parents are the one constant that we can always rely on.
The dearest ones of time, the strongest friends of the soul – BOOKS.Emily Dickinson
Books offer us a unique perspective on life.
They provide us with a glimpse into the minds of some of the greatest thinkers of all time. They give us a sense of belonging and help us understand the world around us. They are filled with wisdom, waiting to be explored.
In a world where we are constantly bombarded with distractions, books allow us to escape the chaos of the outside world and retreat into a world of our own making.
They give us the space we need to reflect, think deeply, and connect with our own thoughts and emotions. A life without books is simply incomplete.
We turn not older with years but newer every day.Emily Dickinson
How many times have you heard someone say, “I wish I could go back to being young again”? But why would they want to?
Each day presents us with new opportunities to learn, grow, and become the best version of ourselves.
When life throws us curveballs or challenges, we can turn them into positive experiences. We can learn from our mistakes and cultivate a sense of inner strength that only comes with time and experience.
So, the next time you’re tempted to lament the passing of another year, remember Emily Dickinson’s words. You’re not getting older – you’re becoming a newer, more vibrant version of yourself with each passing day. And that’s something worth celebrating.
Till I loved I never lived.Emily Dickinson
Without love, life can feel dull and unfulfilling. We may go through the motions of our daily routine, but we’re not really living. We’re simply existing.
It’s only when we experience love that we begin to feel truly alive. We start to see the world in a different light, and we discover that there’s more to life than just going through the motions.
Love is what gives life meaning. It’s what makes all of the struggles and challenges worthwhile.
It’s what makes us want to be better people and to make the most of the time we have. Without love, we’re just passing time, waiting for something to happen.
But a Book is only the Heart’s Portrait – every Page a Pulse.Emily Dickinson
Every page of a book is a pulse, a heartbeat that reverberates with the rhythm of the author’s soul. We feel their joy, pain, and love as we turn each page, allowing the book to touch our hearts and move us in ways that only literature can.
Dickinson’s quote reminds us that books are not just static objects; they have a life of their own. They are the embodiment of the writer’s heart, and every word is a testament to their soul. A book can make us laugh, cry, think, and feel, and in doing so, it becomes a part of us.
So treat books with the respect and allow yourself to be carried away by the writer’s pulse. Let the words flow through you, and feel the author’s heartbeat as it becomes one of your own.
Because a book is not just a collection of pages, it is a connection between two souls – the writer and the reader.
Let us unpack this quote, shall we? “Love is anterior to life.” This means that love existed before we were born, before we took our first breath, before we even had the capacity to feel it. It is a force that transcends time and space.
“Posterior to death.” Love also outlasts death. When our bodies return to the earth, when our souls ascend to the heavens, love remains. It is a legacy we leave behind, a memory that lingers in the hearts of those who loved us. Love transcends the physical realm and lives on in the spiritual realm.
“Initial of creation.” Love is also the beginning of all things. It is the spark that ignites the fire of creation, the force that drives the universe forward.
“And the exponent of breath.” Finally, it is the power that animates us, the force that gives us life. Love is the reason why we breathe. It is the energy that propels us forward, that inspires us to create, dream, and love.
I have been bent and broken, but -I hope- into a better shape.Emily Dickinson
Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a relationship that didn’t work out, or a job that didn’t pan out, life can knock us down. But it’s what we do when we’re down that matters.
We have the power to transform our struggles into strength.
When we face adversity head-on and refuse to be defeated, we grow stronger. It’s through our hardships that we learn the most about ourselves and discover our inner resilience.
Dickinson’s words also emphasize the value of hope. Despite our darkest moments, hope keeps us going. Hope is what allows us to believe that we can emerge stronger and better from our struggles.
Saying nothing… sometimes says the most.Emily Dickinson
There’s a certain power in silence. In a world where everyone seems to be shouting to be heard, there’s a depth and richness to silence that is often overlooked.
When we choose to say nothing, we’re making a deliberate choice. We’re not simply lacking the words or the courage to speak up; we’re consciously withholding our thoughts, our feelings, and our reactions. And that can be a powerful statement in itself.
Silence can convey a range of emotions – from disapproval to agreement, from respect to contempt.
It can be a tool for communication, a way of expressing ourselves without resorting to words that may be misunderstood or misinterpreted. It can be a form of self-protection, a way of guarding our privacy, our thoughts, and our vulnerabilities in this world.
The Soul selects her own Society.Emily Dickinson
Our soul, our truest self, has an innate ability to recognize those who align with our values, beliefs, and goals. It seeks out those who nourish it, those who provide it with the love, support, and understanding it needs to thrive.
When we allow our soul to select its own society, we give ourselves the gift of authentic connections.
We build relationships that are built on mutual respect, trust, and love. We create a community that supports us in our endeavors, celebrates our successes, and lifts us up when we fall.
The soul, therefore, serves as our guide, our compass, and our guiding light in a world that can be chaotic. It reminds us to listen to our inner voice, trust our instincts, and seek out those who help us grow, learn, and thrive.
Without loneliness, we might never truly understand the value of our connections with others. We might forget the joy of a simple conversation, the warmth of a hug, or the beauty of a shared experience.
Loneliness can also be an opportunity for growth and self-discovery.
It is during these moments of solitude that we can truly connect with ourselves and explore our thoughts and emotions. We can learn to appreciate our own company and delve deeper into our passions.
It is not always a curse, but rather a part of the human experience that can bring insight and growth.
Finite to fail, but infinite to venture.Emily Dickinson
We all experience failure at some point in our lives, and it can be a crushing blow to our confidence.
But remember that failure is finite, it has an end, and it doesn’t define who we are.
On the other hand, venturing into the unknown is infinite, it has no limits.
When we dare to venture out of our comfort zones, we open ourselves up to a world of opportunities and experiences that we would never have encountered otherwise. It is in the failures that we learn, grow, and ultimately succeed.
To be alive – is Power.Emily Dickinson
To be alive is power. Those five words, penned by the enigmatic Emily Dickinson, are powerful. They remind us of the incredible privilege it is to be alive, to experience the world around us.
But what does it mean to have power? Is it about physical strength, wealth, or status?
Our true power lies in simply being alive, in having the ability to breathe, move, think, and feel. It’s the power of existence itself.
Let us take time to enjoy the beauty of the world, the richness of our experiences, and the knowledge that we are alive and well right now, in this moment. Having that awareness is the key to all power.
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