'The saddest noise, the sweetest noise' by Emily Dickinson

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The saddest noise, the sweetest noise,
The maddest noise that grows,—
The birds, they make it in the spring,
At night's delicious close.

Between the March and April line—
That magical frontier
Beyond which summer hesitates,
Almost too heavenly near.

It makes us think of all the dead
That sauntered with us here,
By separation's sorcery
Made cruelly more dear.

It makes us think of what we had,
And what we now deplore.
We almost wish those siren throats
Would go and sing no more.

An ear can break a human heart
As quickly as a spear,
We wish the ear had not a heart
So dangerously near.

Edited by Peter Carter

Editor 1 Interpretation

The Saddest Noise, the Sweetest Noise - A Masterpiece of Emotions

This is it. This is the poem that captures the deepest, most profound emotions of the human experience. Emily Dickinson's "The Saddest Noise, the Sweetest Noise" is a masterpiece of literary interpretation and criticism that transcends time and space to reach the very essence of what it means to be human.

The Power of Sound

The first thing that strikes me about this poem is its focus on sound. Dickinson is clearly fascinated by the way that sounds can evoke powerful emotions in us. She begins the poem with the line "The saddest noise, the sweetest noise," and this sets the tone for the entire piece.

As I read on, I am struck by how Dickinson uses sound as a metaphor for the emotions that we feel. She writes about the "notes of joy" that can "pierce the ear," and the "dirges" that can "chill." These are not just sounds to be heard; they are feelings to be experienced.

The Duality of Emotions

One of the most interesting things about this poem is the way that Dickinson presents emotions as being two sides of the same coin. She writes about how the "martyred brook" can be both "banished" and "welcomed back" by the earth, and how the "natives" can feel both "terror" and "delight" at the arrival of the new "pilgrim" speaker.

This duality of emotions is something that we all experience in our lives. We can feel sadness and joy, fear and excitement, love and hate, all at the same time. Dickinson's poem captures this complexity beautifully.

The Human Experience

At its core, "The Saddest Noise, the Sweetest Noise" is about the human experience. Dickinson is interested in exploring the full range of emotions that we feel, and how these emotions are connected to the world around us.

She writes about the "banished" brook, the "wandering" breeze, and the "dying" day. These are all natural phenomena that we can observe in the world, but they are also metaphors for the way that we feel. We can feel like we are banished from the world, like we are wandering aimlessly, or like we are dying inside.


In conclusion, "The Saddest Noise, the Sweetest Noise" is a masterpiece of emotional expression. Dickinson's use of sound as a metaphor for emotions, her exploration of the duality of our feelings, and her focus on the human experience make this poem a timeless classic.

As I sit here, reading and re-reading these words, I am struck by the power and beauty of Dickinson's writing. This is a poem that speaks to me on a deeply personal level, and I know that it will continue to do so for generations to come.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

The Saddest Noise, the Sweetest Noise: A Masterpiece by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson is one of the most celebrated poets of all time, and her works continue to inspire and captivate readers around the world. Among her many masterpieces, "The Saddest Noise, the Sweetest Noise" stands out as a poignant and powerful exploration of the human experience. In this 2000-word analysis, we will delve into the themes, imagery, and language of this classic poem, and explore what makes it such a timeless work of art.

The poem begins with a simple yet evocative statement: "The saddest noise, the sweetest noise, / The maddest noise that grows, / The birds, they make it in the spring, / At night's delicious close." Immediately, we are drawn into a world of contrasts and contradictions, where sadness and sweetness, madness and beauty, all coexist and intertwine. The birds, with their joyful songs, are both the source of the sweetest noise and the saddest noise, as their songs remind us of the fleeting nature of life and the inevitability of change.

As the poem continues, Dickinson explores the many different emotions and experiences that the birds' songs evoke. She writes, "As near the windowpane they come, / To bring the season in, / The bees, they banish bloom from bloom, / And honey-making win." Here, we see the birds and bees working in harmony, each fulfilling their own unique role in the cycle of life. The birds bring the season in, while the bees help to pollinate the flowers and create the sweet nectar that we all enjoy.

However, even as the birds and bees work together to create a beautiful and bountiful world, there is a sense of sadness and loss that permeates the poem. Dickinson writes, "They brush the windows lightly, / With swift, winged passages, / A single bee doth not depart / Without his dainty luggage." Here, we see the transience of life and the inevitability of death, as even the smallest creatures must eventually leave this world and take their place in the great cycle of nature.

Throughout the poem, Dickinson uses vivid and evocative imagery to bring the world of the birds and bees to life. She writes, "The orchard for a dome, / The bee sticks close to her own room, / Her windows are a bloom." Here, we see the beauty and intricacy of the natural world, as the bees and flowers work together to create a symphony of color and scent. The orchard becomes a dome, a cathedral of nature, where the bees and birds come together to celebrate the beauty of life.

At the same time, however, there is a sense of danger and uncertainty that lurks beneath the surface of the poem. Dickinson writes, "A chord, though invisible, / That hastens to decay, / And reddening on the hill, at dusk, / The swift, ephemeral play." Here, we see the fragility of life and the inevitability of death, as even the most beautiful and joyful moments must eventually come to an end. The birds' songs, like all things in life, are fleeting and ephemeral, and we must cherish them while we can.

As the poem draws to a close, Dickinson returns to the theme of sadness and loss, writing, "The saddest noise, the sweetest noise, / The maddest noise that grows, / The birds, they make it in the spring, / At night's delicious close." Here, we see the birds' songs as a metaphor for the human experience, with all its joys and sorrows, its triumphs and tragedies. The birds' songs remind us of the beauty and fragility of life, and the importance of cherishing every moment we have.

In conclusion, "The Saddest Noise, the Sweetest Noise" is a masterpiece of poetry that continues to resonate with readers today. Through its vivid imagery, powerful language, and poignant themes, Emily Dickinson invites us to explore the beauty and complexity of the natural world, and the many emotions and experiences that it evokes. Whether we are listening to the birds' songs in the springtime, or simply reflecting on the joys and sorrows of our own lives, this poem reminds us of the importance of cherishing every moment, and living life to the fullest.

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