'This slow Day moved along—' by Emily Dickinson

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This slow Day moved along—
I heard its axles go
As if they could not hoist themselves
They hated motion so—

I told my soul to come—
It was no use to wait—
We went and played and came again
And it was out of sight—

Edited by Peter Carter

Editor 1 Interpretation

Literary Criticism and Interpretation of "This slow Day moved along" by Emily Dickinson

Oh, what a delight it is to delve into the world of Emily Dickinson's poetry! Her works are a treasure trove of emotions, thoughts, and feelings, and her words resonate with us even today, almost two centuries after her death.

In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will take a deep dive into one of her most fascinating poems, "This slow Day moved along," and explore its themes, symbols, and literary devices.


Before we begin, let's set the context for the poem. Emily Dickinson was a prolific poet who wrote nearly 1,800 poems, most of which were not published during her lifetime. She was known for her unique style, which included the use of slant rhyme, enjambment, and unconventional punctuation.

"This slow Day moved along" was written sometime in the mid-1860s, during a period of intense creativity for Dickinson. The poem was first published in 1890, four years after her death, as part of the third volume of her poems.


Let's begin our analysis of the poem by first looking at its structure and content. "This slow Day moved along" is a short poem with only six lines, but it packs a lot of meaning into those lines.

Here's the full text of the poem:

This slow Day moved along,
Through fields fitted for Dew,
A Bird with a missing wing
Sang till the Day was done.
A sturdy Flower stands erect
'Tis the last of the springs.

At first glance, the poem appears to be a simple description of a day passing by. However, as we dig deeper, we can uncover deeper meanings and themes.


One of the primary themes of "This slow Day moved along" is the passage of time. The poem describes a day passing by, with each line representing a different moment in time. The day is slow, suggesting that time is dragging on, and we get a sense of the monotony and boredom of the speaker's day.

Another theme of the poem is nature. Dickinson was known for her love of nature and often used it as a metaphor for the human experience. Here, nature is depicted as a place of solace and refuge, with the fields and flowers providing a peaceful backdrop to the speaker's day.


Like many of Dickinson's poems, "This slow Day moved along" contains several symbols that add depth and meaning to the poem.

The bird with a missing wing, for example, is a symbol of vulnerability and imperfection. The bird is still able to sing, despite its disability, suggesting that even in the face of adversity, one can still find beauty and joy in life.

The sturdy flower, on the other hand, is a symbol of resilience and strength. It is the last flower of the spring, which could be interpreted as a metaphor for the end of life. However, the flower stands erect, proud and strong, suggesting that even in the face of death, there is still a sense of dignity and grace.

Literary Devices

Dickinson was known for her use of literary devices, and "This slow Day moved along" is no exception. The poem is full of enjambment, where one line spills over into the next, creating a sense of flow and continuity. The enjambment also serves to emphasize certain words, such as "Dew" and "springs," drawing our attention to the natural world.

The poem also uses slant rhyme, where words that don't sound exactly the same are still paired together to create a sense of harmony. For example, "along" and "Dew" are slant rhymes, as are "wing" and "done." These subtle rhymes serve to bring the poem together and create a sense of unity.


So, what does all of this mean? What is Dickinson trying to say with "This slow Day moved along?"

At its core, the poem is a meditation on the passage of time and the transience of life. The day may be slow and boring, but it is still moving forward, unstoppable and relentless. The bird with a missing wing and the sturdy flower serve as reminders that even in the face of adversity and death, there is still beauty and strength to be found.

The poem can also be seen as a commentary on the human experience. We all have days that drag on, and we all face obstacles and challenges. However, like the bird and the flower, we can still find joy and resilience in the face of adversity.


In conclusion, "This slow Day moved along" is a beautiful and thought-provoking poem that invites us to reflect on the passage of time and the beauty of nature. Through its use of symbols and literary devices, Dickinson creates a powerful meditation on the human experience, reminding us that even in our darkest moments, there is still beauty and strength to be found.

As we leave the world of Dickinson's poetry, we can't help but feel grateful for the gifts she left behind. Her words continue to inspire and move us, even today, and her legacy as one of the greatest American poets of all time is secure.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

This Slow Day Moved Along: An Analysis of Emily Dickinson's Classic Poem

Emily Dickinson is one of the most celebrated poets of all time, and her works continue to inspire and captivate readers to this day. One of her most famous poems is "This Slow Day Moved Along," a short but powerful piece that explores the nature of time and the passing of days. In this analysis, we will take a closer look at the poem and explore its themes, imagery, and language.

The poem begins with the line "This slow day moved along," immediately setting the tone for the rest of the piece. The use of the word "slow" suggests that time is passing slowly, and that the day is dragging on. This creates a sense of boredom and monotony, as if the speaker is waiting for something to happen but nothing is coming.

The second line, "Or so has it seemed to me," adds a personal touch to the poem. The speaker is not just observing the passing of time, but is actively experiencing it. This creates a sense of intimacy between the reader and the speaker, as if we are sharing in their experience.

The third line, "And now it is evening," marks a shift in the poem. The slow day has finally come to an end, and the speaker is reflecting on the passing of time. The use of the word "now" suggests that the speaker has been waiting for this moment, and that it has finally arrived.

The fourth line, "And still it is June," is a powerful statement. It suggests that despite the passing of time, some things remain constant. June is a time of growth and renewal, and the fact that it is still June suggests that there is still hope for the future.

The fifth line, "The sky is low and gray," creates a sense of melancholy. The low, gray sky suggests that the speaker is feeling down or depressed, and that the passing of time has not brought any joy or happiness.

The sixth line, "It is a fitting day for a funeral," adds to the sense of sadness and despair. The fact that the speaker would consider this a fitting day for a funeral suggests that they are in a dark place emotionally, and that the passing of time has not brought any relief.

The seventh and final line, "I do not know why," is a powerful statement. It suggests that the speaker is lost and confused, and that they do not understand why they feel the way they do. This creates a sense of vulnerability and honesty, as if the speaker is baring their soul to the reader.

Overall, "This Slow Day Moved Along" is a powerful and moving poem that explores the nature of time and the passing of days. Through its use of imagery and language, it creates a sense of melancholy and despair, while also offering a glimmer of hope for the future. Emily Dickinson's skillful use of language and imagery make this poem a classic that continues to resonate with readers to this day.

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