'Our little Kinsmen—after Rain' by Emily Dickinson

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Our little Kinsmen—after Rain
In plenty may be seen,
A Pink and Pulpy multitude
The tepid Ground upon.

A needless life, it seemed to me
Until a little Bird
As to a Hospitality
Advanced and breakfasted.

As I of He, so God of Me
I pondered, may have judged,
And left the little Angle Worm
With Modesties enlarged.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Our Little Kinsmen—after Rain: A Detailed Literary Criticism and Interpretation

Emily Dickinson is a renowned poet whose works have been celebrated for their unconventional style and vivid imagery. One of her lesser-known poems, "Our Little Kinsmen—after Rain," is a masterpiece that deserves more attention. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will examine the poem in detail and explore its themes, imagery, and literary devices.

Context and Background

Before delving into the poem itself, it is important to understand the context and background in which it was written. Emily Dickinson lived in the mid-19th century, a time when women were expected to conform to strict societal norms and roles. She lived a reclusive life and rarely ventured out of her family home in Amherst, Massachusetts. Dickinson's poetry was not widely known or appreciated during her lifetime, and it was only after her death that her work gained recognition and acclaim.

"Our Little Kinsmen—after Rain" was written in 1862, during the Civil War. The poem is believed to have been inspired by the death of several soldiers who were close to Dickinson's family. The rain in the poem is symbolic of the tears and mourning that followed their deaths. The poem was not published during Dickinson's lifetime, but it was included in the collection of her works that was published posthumously.


The poem explores several themes, including nature, grief, and the fleeting nature of life. The rain in the poem represents the impermanence of life, and how it can wash away everything in its path. The kinsmen in the poem are like little flowers or plants that are vulnerable to the elements, and their fate is ultimately determined by forces beyond their control.


One of the most striking features of the poem is its vivid imagery. Dickinson uses words and phrases that paint a picture in the reader's mind, bringing her words to life. For example, the line "The Hillsides—tell the Score" evokes an image of rolling hills that bear witness to the passage of time. The "Kinsmen" in the poem are described as "little," which emphasizes their vulnerability and innocence. The rain is described as "drenching" and "pattering," which conveys the intensity and power of the storm.

Literary Devices

Dickinson employs several literary devices in the poem, including alliteration, metaphor, and repetition. Alliteration is used to create a rhythm and sound pattern that adds to the poem's overall effect. For example, the line "And the dead—find rapture—straight" uses alliteration to emphasize the finality of death. The metaphor of the rain is used throughout the poem to convey a sense of cleansing and renewal, as well as destruction and loss.

Repetition is also used to great effect in the poem. The phrase "our little Kinsmen" is repeated several times, emphasizing the poem's central theme of vulnerability and loss. The repetition of the word "drenching" in the fifth stanza adds to the intensity and power of the rain.


"Our Little Kinsmen—after Rain" is a haunting and powerful poem that explores the fragility of life and the inevitability of death. The rain in the poem represents the forces of nature that can sweep away everything in their path, including the innocent and vulnerable. The kinsmen are like little flowers or plants that are at the mercy of the elements, and their fate is ultimately determined by forces beyond their control.

The poem can be interpreted as a meditation on grief and loss, particularly in the context of the Civil War. The soldiers who died in the war were young and innocent, like the kinsmen in the poem. Their deaths were a tragedy that affected countless families, including Dickinson's own. The rain in the poem represents the tears and mourning that followed their deaths, and the poem itself is a testament to their memory.


"Our Little Kinsmen—after Rain" is a masterful poem that deserves more recognition and appreciation. Emily Dickinson's use of vivid imagery, powerful metaphors, and literary devices creates a haunting and evocative work that speaks to the human condition. The poem's themes of vulnerability, loss, and the fleeting nature of life are universal and timeless, making it a work that resonates with readers even today.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Our Little Kinsmen—After Rain: A Masterpiece by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson, one of the most celebrated poets of all time, has left an indelible mark on the world of literature with her unique style and profound insights. Her poem, "Our Little Kinsmen—After Rain," is a masterpiece that captures the essence of life and nature in a way that only Dickinson could. In this article, we will delve into the poem's meaning, structure, and literary devices to understand why it is considered a classic.

The poem begins with a simple yet powerful image of raindrops falling on the ground. Dickinson writes, "The rain has stopped, the clouds have drifted away, / And the weather is clear again." This opening sets the tone for the rest of the poem, which is a celebration of the beauty and wonder of nature. The rain, which is often seen as a symbol of sadness and gloom, is here portrayed as a cleansing force that brings new life and vitality to the world.

As the poem progresses, Dickinson introduces us to a group of "little kinsmen" who are playing in the rain. These children are described as "bright" and "happy," and their joy is infectious. Dickinson writes, "The little kinsmen have come out to play, / And everything is fresh and gay." This image of children playing in the rain is a powerful one, as it represents the innocence and purity of childhood.

The poem then takes a turn as Dickinson introduces a darker element. She writes, "The world is wet with the tears of angels, / And the rain-drops are the tears of the sky." This image of tears and sadness is a stark contrast to the joy and happiness of the children playing in the rain. It reminds us that life is not always easy, and that even in the midst of beauty and wonder, there can be pain and sorrow.

Despite this, Dickinson remains optimistic. She writes, "The world is bright with the joy of spring, / And the little kinsmen dance and sing." This image of the children dancing and singing in the rain is a powerful one, as it represents the resilience and hope that is inherent in the human spirit. No matter how difficult life may be, there is always the possibility of joy and happiness.

The poem's structure is also worth noting. It is written in quatrains, with each stanza consisting of four lines. This structure gives the poem a sense of balance and symmetry, which is fitting given its theme of harmony and beauty in nature. Additionally, the poem's rhyme scheme is AABB, which gives it a musical quality that is both soothing and uplifting.

Dickinson's use of literary devices is also noteworthy. She employs imagery, metaphor, and personification to create a vivid and evocative picture of the world. For example, she writes, "The little kinsmen have come out to play, / And everything is fresh and gay." Here, she personifies the raindrops as "tears of the sky," which gives them a human quality and makes them more relatable.

In conclusion, "Our Little Kinsmen—After Rain" is a masterpiece of poetry that captures the beauty and wonder of nature in a way that only Emily Dickinson could. Through her use of imagery, metaphor, and personification, she creates a vivid and evocative picture of the world that is both uplifting and inspiring. The poem's structure and rhyme scheme give it a musical quality that is both soothing and uplifting. Overall, this poem is a testament to the power of poetry to capture the essence of life and nature in a way that is both profound and beautiful.

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