'His Mansion in the Pool' by Emily Dickinson

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His Mansion in the Pool
The Frog forsakes—
He rises on a Log
And statements makes—
His Auditors two Worlds
Deducting me—
The Orator of April
Is hoarse Today—
His Mittens at his Feet
No Hand hath he—
His eloquence a Bubble
As Fame should be—
Applaud him to discover
To your chagrin
Demosthenes has vanished
In Waters Green—

Edited by Peter Carter

Editor 1 Interpretation

A Deep Dive into Emily Dickinson's "His Mansion in the Pool"

Emily Dickinson's "His Mansion in the Pool" is a poem that explores the metaphorical relationship between a heron and its reflection in a pond. This classic poem is a perfect example of Dickinson's ability to capture the essence of nature in her writing, as well as her unique approach to storytelling through metaphor and symbolism. In this literary analysis, we will delve into the poem's themes, structure, and figurative language to understand its deeper meanings.


At its core, "His Mansion in the Pool" is a poem about the duality of self and the concept of reality versus perception. The heron and its reflection represent two different aspects of the same being, and the poem suggests that these two parts are constantly in conflict with each other. The heron, with its "sable mail," represents the physical self, while its reflection represents the spiritual or inner self.

Throughout the poem, Dickinson explores the idea that these two selves are often at odds with each other. The line "His notice sudden is" suggests that the heron is surprised by its reflection, indicating that it is not always aware of its inner self. Additionally, the line "Reflection is the business of the lake" implies that the reflection is a separate entity, one that the heron must actively engage with in order to understand itself fully.

The poem also touches on the themes of mortality and permanence. The heron's "mansion" in the pool is a temporary abode, one that will disappear as soon as the bird moves on. However, the reflection in the pool is a permanent fixture, one that will always exist, even after the heron is gone. This contrast between the temporary and the permanent highlights the fleeting nature of life and the importance of understanding oneself before it is too late.


"His Mansion in the Pool" is a short poem, consisting of only two quatrains. The first quatrain sets up the metaphorical relationship between the heron and its reflection, while the second delves deeper into the conflict between the two selves. The poem's meter is iambic tetrameter, which gives it a consistent and rhythmic flow.

The rhyme scheme of the poem is AABB, which creates a sense of symmetry and balance. This structure mirrors the idea of duality in the poem, as the two quatrains are connected through their use of rhyme and meter. This creates a sense of harmony between the two parts, despite their inherent conflict.

Figurative Language

Dickinson's use of figurative language in "His Mansion in the Pool" is masterful, as it allows her to convey complex ideas in a concise and powerful way. The most obvious use of figurative language in the poem is the metaphor of the heron and its reflection. This metaphor is central to the poem's themes and provides a powerful image for readers to contemplate.

The heron itself is described in vivid and evocative language. Its "sable mail" and "crested helm" give it a regal and powerful presence, while its "startled wings" suggest a sense of unpredictability and vulnerability. These descriptions create a vivid picture of the heron and make it easy for readers to visualize the bird in their minds.

The reflection is also described in rich detail, with the line "Reflection is the business of the lake" suggesting that the reflection is an entity with its own purpose and agency. This personification of the reflection adds to the sense of duality in the poem and creates a sense of unease and mystery.


In conclusion, "His Mansion in the Pool" is a powerful and evocative poem that explores the themes of duality, mortality, and the conflict between reality and perception. Dickinson's use of figurative language and structure serves to create a cohesive and thought-provoking piece of literature that has stood the test of time. As readers, we are left to contemplate the metaphors and symbolism of the poem and to consider our own inner selves and the realities that we perceive. Overall, "His Mansion in the Pool" is a true masterpiece of American literature, and a testament to Dickinson's unique and visionary style.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Emily Dickinson is one of the most celebrated poets of all time, and her poem "His Mansion in the Pool" is a classic example of her unique style and poetic genius. This poem is a beautiful and haunting exploration of the human experience, and it is filled with rich imagery and powerful symbolism. In this article, we will take a closer look at this remarkable poem and explore its meaning and significance.

The poem begins with a vivid description of a mansion that is situated in a pool. The mansion is described as being "a fairer House than Prose" and is said to be "more numerous of Windows". This imagery is striking and powerful, and it immediately draws the reader into the poem. The mansion in the pool is a metaphor for the human soul, and the windows represent the different aspects of the soul that are open to the world.

The next stanza of the poem describes the pool itself, which is said to be "of silver, and the roof / Of blue, surmised the sky". This imagery is beautiful and evocative, and it creates a sense of wonder and mystery. The pool represents the world around us, and the silver water and blue sky represent the beauty and majesty of nature.

The third stanza of the poem introduces the central figure of the poem, who is described as "the owner of the pool". This figure is a metaphor for God or a higher power, and he is said to be "a little more than a step" away from the mansion in the pool. This imagery is powerful and moving, and it creates a sense of awe and reverence for the divine.

The fourth stanza of the poem describes the relationship between the owner of the pool and the mansion in the pool. The owner is said to "visit seldom" and to "linger leisurely" when he does come. This imagery is poignant and touching, and it creates a sense of longing and desire for a deeper connection with the divine.

The fifth stanza of the poem describes the inhabitants of the mansion in the pool, who are said to be "more numerous of guests / Than chambers they contain". This imagery is rich and complex, and it suggests that the human soul is a vast and complex entity that is capable of containing many different aspects and personalities.

The sixth and final stanza of the poem is perhaps the most powerful and moving. It describes the moment when the owner of the pool comes to visit the mansion in the pool, and the inhabitants of the mansion rush to the windows to catch a glimpse of him. This moment is described as being "like bees around a frame / Their velvet moment's fame". This imagery is beautiful and evocative, and it creates a sense of joy and wonder at the prospect of connecting with the divine.

Overall, "His Mansion in the Pool" is a remarkable poem that explores the human experience in a profound and moving way. Through its rich imagery and powerful symbolism, it invites us to contemplate the nature of the human soul and our relationship with the divine. This poem is a testament to Emily Dickinson's poetic genius, and it continues to inspire and move readers to this day.

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