I measure every Grief I meet (561)

Emily Dickinson

 
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 – 
 
Poetry used by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of Amherst College from The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Ralph W. Franklin ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1998 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979, by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

Poems by This Author

A Bird came down the Walk (328) by Emily Dickinson
A Bird came down the Walk
A Drop fell on the Apple Tree (794) by Emily Dickinson
A Drop fell on the Apple Tree
A lane of Yellow led the eye (1650) by Emily Dickinson
A lane of Yellow led the eye
A Man may make a Remark (952) by Emily Dickinson
A Man may make a Remark
Because I could not stop for Death (712) by Emily Dickinson
Because I could not stop for Death--
Besides the Autumn poets sing (131) by Emily Dickinson
Besides the Autumn poets sing
Color - Caste - Denomination - (970) by Emily Dickinson
Color - Caste - Denomination
Come Slowly—Eden (211) by Emily Dickinson
Come slowly—Eden
Dear March - Come in - (1320) by Emily Dickinson
Dear March - Come in -
Fame is a fickle food (1659) by Emily Dickinson
Fame is a fickle food
Hope is the thing with feathers (254) by Emily Dickinson
Hope is the thing with feathers
I cannot live with You (640) by Emily Dickinson
I cannot live with You--
I could suffice for Him, I knew (643) by Emily Dickinson
I could suffice for Him, I knew—
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain (280) by Emily Dickinson
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
I heard a Fly buzz (465) by Emily Dickinson
I heard a Fly buzz--when I died--
I like to see it lap the Miles (43) by Emily Dickinson
I like to see it lap the Miles
I taste a liquor never brewed (214) by Emily Dickinson
I taste a liquor never brewed--
I tie my Hat—I crease my Shawl (443) by Emily Dickinson
I tie my Hat—I crease my Shawl—
I'm Nobody! Who are you? (260) by Emily Dickinson
I'm Nobody! Who are you?
It sifts from Leaden Sieves - (311) by Emily Dickinson
It sifts from Leaden Sieves
It was not Death, for I stood up (510) by Emily Dickinson
It was not Death, for I stood up
It's all I have to bring today (26) by Emily Dickinson
It's all I have to bring today
Knows how to forget! (433) by Emily Dickinson
Knows how to forget
Like Brooms of Steel (1252) by Emily Dickinson
Luck is not chance (1350) by Emily Dickinson
Luck is not chance
My life closed twice before its close (96) by Emily Dickinson
My life closed twice before its close
One day is there of the series by Emily Dickinson
One day is there of the series
One Sister have I in our house (14) by Emily Dickinson
Safe in their Alabaster Chambers (216) by Emily Dickinson
Safe in their Alabaster Chambers—
The Outlet (162) by Emily Dickinson
My river runs to thee
The Savior must have been a docile Gentleman (1487) by Emily Dickinson
The Savior must have been
The Soul selects her own Society (303) by Emily Dickinson
The Soul selects her own Society—
The Soul unto itself (683) by Emily Dickinson
The Soul unto itself
There is no frigate like a book (1263) by Emily Dickinson
There is no frigate like a book (1263)
There's a certain Slant of light (258) by Emily Dickinson
There's a certain Slant of light,
To make a prairie (1755) by Emily Dickinson
To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
Two Butterflies went out at Noon— (533) by Emily Dickinson
Two Butterflies went out at Noon
We never know how high we are (1176) by Emily Dickinson
We never know how high we are
Wild Nights – Wild Nights! (249) by Emily Dickinson
Wild Nights! - Wild Nights!
Winter is good - his Hoar Delights (1316) by Emily Dickinson
Winter is good - his Hoar Delights


Further Reading

Poems About Tragedy and Grief
"My True Love Hath My Heart and I Have His"
by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
Adonais, 49-52, [Go thou to Rome]
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Hamlet, Act III, Scene I [To be, or not to be]
by William Shakespeare
Against Elegies
by Marilyn Hacker
Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100
by Martín Espada
Arise, Go Down
by Li-Young Lee
Assault to Abjury
by Raymond McDaniel
Before
by Carl Adamshick
Breaking Across Us Now
by Katie Ford
Curtains
by Ruth Stone
Day of Grief
by Gerald Stern
Dear Lonely Animal,
by Oni Buchanan
December, 1919
by Claude McKay
Easter 1916
by W. B. Yeats
Eulogy
by Kevin Young
Facing It
by Yusef Komunyakaa
Fairbanks Under the Solstice
by John Haines
here rests
by Lucille Clifton
Hum
by Ann Lauterbach
I Can Afford Neither the Rain
by Holly Iglesias
I Found Her Out There
by Thomas Hardy
I Pack Her Suitcase with Sticks, Light the Tinder, and Shut the Lid
by Rob Schlegel
Imagine
by Kamilah Aisha Moon
In Louisiana
by Albert Bigelow Paine
Lycidas
by John Milton
Memorial Day for the War Dead
by Yehuda Amichai
On His Deceased Wife
by John Milton
Ozymandias
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Pretty Polly
by Jane Springer
Quiet Mourning
by Laura Moriarty
Requiescat
by Matthew Arnold
Richard Cory
by Edwin Arlington Robinson
Rose Aylmer
by Walter Savage Landor
September 1, 1939
by W. H. Auden
Song ["When I am dead, my dearest"]
by Christina Rossetti
Stillbirth
by Laure-Anne Bosselaar
Surprised By Joy
by William Wordsworth
That This
by Susan Howe
The Dead
by Joan Aleshire
The Gaffe
by C. K. Williams
The Hour and What Is Dead
by Li-Young Lee
The Not Tale (Funeral)
by Caroline Bergvall
The Second Coming
by W. B. Yeats
The Stolen Child
by W. B. Yeats
The Widow's Lament in Springtime
by William Carlos Williams
The Words Under the Words
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Tigers
by Melissa Ginsburg
To W.C.W. M.D.
by Alfred Kreymborg