'Musicians wrestle everywhere' by Emily Dickinson

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Musicians wrestle everywhere—
All day—among the crowded air
I hear the silver strife—
And—walking—long before the morn—
Such transport breaks upon the town
I think it that "New Life"!

If is not Bird—it has no nest—
Nor "Band"—in brass and scarlet—drest—
Nor Tamborin—nor Man—
It is not Hymn from pulpit read—
The "Morning Stars" the Treble led
On Time's first Afternoon!

Some—say—it is "the Spheres"—at play!
Some say that bright Majority
Of vanished Dames—and Men!
Some—think it service in the place
Where we—with late—celestial face—
Please God—shall Ascertain!

Editor 1 Interpretation

Musicians Wrestle Everywhere: A Deep Dive into Emily Dickinson's Poem

When it comes to Emily Dickinson's poetry, there is no shortage of critical analysis and interpretation. But one of her lesser-known works, "Musicians Wrestle Everywhere," deserves a closer look. At only eight lines long, this poem packs a powerful punch and leaves readers with much to ponder. So, let's dive in and explore the meaning and significance of "Musicians Wrestle Everywhere."

The Poem

First, let's take a look at the poem itself:

Musicians wrestle everywhere;
All day, among the crowded air,
I hear the silver strife;
And—waking long before the dawn—
They chase each other up and down
And whirl the willing air.

Right away, we are struck by the musical language and imagery used by Dickinson. The poem is full of alliteration and consonance, with words like "musicians," "wrestle," and "silver strife" rolling off the tongue. The poem also has a strong sense of rhythm and movement, with the repetition of "everywhere," "crowded air," and "up and down" creating a sense of chaotic energy.


So, what does this poem mean? At its most basic level, "Musicians Wrestle Everywhere" is a celebration of music and the power it holds. The "musicians" referred to in the poem are not just literal musicians, but also a metaphor for the creative forces in the world - the poets, the artists, the thinkers - who are constantly struggling to create and innovate.

The "silver strife" that Dickinson hears all day is the sound of this creative struggle, the clash of ideas and the tension between innovation and tradition. This is a universal struggle, one that is "everywhere" and not confined to any particular time or place. It is a struggle that is ongoing, and one that Dickinson herself was no stranger to.

But there is more to this poem than just a celebration of creativity. The phrase "wrestle everywhere" suggests that this struggle is not always easy, and that it can be a painful and difficult process. The fact that Dickinson hears this struggle "all day" suggests that it is a constant presence in her life, and that she is intimately familiar with the challenges it poses.

The final two lines of the poem - "And - waking long before the dawn - / They chase each other up and down" - are perhaps the most enigmatic. Who are the "they" referred to here? Are they the musicians themselves, or the creative forces that they represent? And why are they waking "long before the dawn"?

One possible interpretation is that the "they" are the creative forces themselves, and that they are constantly in motion, even when the rest of the world is asleep. This suggests a kind of urgency and restlessness, a desire to push forward and create despite the obstacles in their way.


As with much of Dickinson's poetry, "Musicians Wrestle Everywhere" is full of rich symbolism and imagery. The use of the word "silver" to describe the "strife" is particularly interesting, as it suggests a kind of purity and beauty in the creative struggle. The fact that the musicians "whirl the willing air" also suggests a sense of playfulness and joy in the creative process, despite its challenges.

The poem is also notable for its lack of punctuation, which creates a sense of fluidity and openness. This allows the reader to interpret the poem in their own way, and to find their own meaning in its words. The lack of punctuation also mirrors the chaotic and unpredictable nature of the creative struggle, which can be both exhilarating and overwhelming.


In conclusion, "Musicians Wrestle Everywhere" is a powerful and evocative poem that celebrates the creative struggle and the power of music. It is a poem that is both universal and deeply personal, and one that speaks to the challenges and joys of the creative process. Dickinson's use of musical language and imagery creates a sense of energy and movement, while her lack of punctuation allows the reader to interpret the poem in their own way. Overall, "Musicians Wrestle Everywhere" is a testament to the enduring power of creativity and the human spirit.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Musicians Wrestle Everywhere: A Poem of Life and Art

Emily Dickinson's poem "Musicians Wrestle Everywhere" is a masterpiece of poetic expression that captures the essence of life and art. In this poem, Dickinson explores the relationship between music and life, and how they are intertwined in a constant struggle for expression and meaning. The poem is a celebration of the power of music to inspire and transform, and a reminder of the importance of art in our lives.

The poem begins with the line "Musicians wrestle everywhere," which immediately sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The word "wrestle" suggests a struggle or conflict, and the use of "everywhere" implies that this struggle is universal and ongoing. The poem goes on to describe the different ways in which musicians express themselves, from the "orchestra" to the "bird" to the "man" who "plucks a tune." Each of these examples represents a different form of musical expression, but they all share a common goal: to create something beautiful and meaningful.

One of the most striking aspects of this poem is the way in which Dickinson uses language to convey the power of music. She describes music as a force that "lifts us from the ground," and as something that "fills the sky." These images suggest that music has the ability to transcend the physical world and transport us to a higher plane of existence. This is a common theme in Dickinson's poetry, and it reflects her belief in the transformative power of art.

Another important theme in this poem is the idea of struggle. Dickinson suggests that musicians are engaged in a constant struggle to express themselves and to create something meaningful. This struggle is reflected in the language of the poem, which is full of words like "wrestle," "strive," and "battle." These words suggest that the act of creating art is not easy, and that it requires a great deal of effort and determination.

Despite the struggle involved in creating art, Dickinson suggests that it is ultimately worth it. She describes music as a "joy" that "surpasses all we know." This suggests that the act of creating art is not only rewarding in itself, but that it has the power to bring us joy and happiness. This is a powerful message, and it reflects Dickinson's belief in the importance of art in our lives.

One of the most interesting aspects of this poem is the way in which Dickinson uses imagery to convey her message. She describes music as a "bird" that "soars" and a "man" who "plucks a tune." These images suggest that music is not just a sound, but a living thing that has the power to move us. This is a common theme in Dickinson's poetry, and it reflects her belief in the power of nature and the natural world.

In addition to its themes of struggle and transformation, "Musicians Wrestle Everywhere" also explores the idea of community. Dickinson suggests that musicians are not just individuals, but part of a larger community of artists who are all engaged in the same struggle. She describes the "orchestra" as a group of musicians who are "striving" together to create something beautiful. This suggests that the act of creating art is not just an individual pursuit, but something that requires collaboration and cooperation.

Overall, "Musicians Wrestle Everywhere" is a powerful and inspiring poem that celebrates the power of music and art. It is a reminder of the importance of creativity and expression in our lives, and a testament to the transformative power of art. Dickinson's use of language and imagery is masterful, and her message is both timeless and universal. This poem is a true masterpiece of poetic expression, and it deserves to be celebrated and studied for generations to come.

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