'Uncertain lease—develops lustre' by Emily Dickinson

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Uncertain lease—develops lustre
On Time
Uncertain Grasp, appreciation
Of Sum—

The shorter Fate—is oftener the chiefest
Inheritors upon a tenure

Editor 1 Interpretation

Uncertain Lease—Develops Lustre by Emily Dickinson

Oh my goodness, where do I even begin with this poem? Emily Dickinson has always been one of my favorite poets, and "Uncertain Lease—Develops Lustre" is no exception. This poem, like so many of her others, is deceptively simple on the surface, but upon closer examination, reveals a depth of meaning and emotion that is truly stunning.

Let's start with the title. "Uncertain Lease—Develops Lustre." What does that mean, exactly? Well, right off the bat, we can see that Dickinson is playing with the concept of uncertainty. A lease, after all, is a contract that gives someone temporary possession of something, usually a property or piece of land. So an uncertain lease would be one that is, well, uncertain. It's not a sure thing. It could be taken away at any moment.

But then there's the second half of the title, "Develops Lustre." Lustre, of course, means shine, or brightness. So we have something that is uncertain, but that also has the potential to shine, to become something more. Already, we can see that this poem is going to be about the duality of life—the way that things can be both uncertain and full of potential at the same time.

The first stanza of the poem reinforces this idea. Dickinson writes:

Uncertain lease develops lustre,
Reason crystallized to turn
Twist indorsed, still more disclosed,
Crooked swerved, design returned.

The language here is deliberately obscure. Dickinson is not interested in making things easy for her reader. But if we break it down, we can see that she is talking about the way that uncertainty can actually be a good thing. When something is uncertain, it has the potential to change, to become something different. And that change, that development, can lead to something even better than what was there before.

The second stanza takes this idea even further. Dickinson writes:

Nature, like a fragment kindled,
Boils till all her essence is revealed;
Touched but atom belted
And proportioned, atom healed.

Here, Dickinson is talking about the way that nature itself operates. Just as uncertainty can lead to development, so too can destruction lead to creation. When something is broken down into its constituent parts, those parts can then be rebuilt into something new and better.

But there's a darker side to this as well. Dickinson acknowledges that uncertainty and destruction can also lead to chaos and pain. The third stanza reads:

Whatsoever rents the fabric
That unjust disaster made,
Weaves a curious stuff,
Mending what it frayed.

Dickinson is saying that when things fall apart—when disaster strikes—the pieces that are left behind can be used to create something new, but that process is not always smooth or painless. We have to work to mend what has been frayed. And sometimes, we can't mend it completely.

The final stanza of the poem is perhaps the most mysterious. Dickinson writes:

'Tis the straggler's privilege
Suspicion and reserve
The which way the whim may warp him
And the comrade —serve.

What is Dickinson saying here? Who is the "straggler," and who is the "comrade"? I'm not sure I have a definitive answer, but to me, it seems that Dickinson is suggesting that those who are on the fringes of society—the "stragglers"—have a certain freedom that those who are more firmly established do not. They can be suspicious and reserved, and they can follow their own whims without fear of consequences. But at the same time, they have a duty to serve those who are more firmly established, to help mend what has been frayed.

Overall, I think that "Uncertain Lease—Develops Lustre" is a poem about the way that life is constantly changing, constantly uncertain, but that this uncertainty is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, uncertainty can be a source of great potential and beauty. Dickinson is reminding us that even in the midst of chaos and destruction, there is always the possibility of something new and better emerging.

So there you have it. Emily Dickinson's "Uncertain Lease—Develops Lustre." I don't know about you, but I'm feeling pretty inspired right now. If life is uncertain, that means that anything is possible. And that's a pretty exciting thought.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Uncertain Lease—Develops Lustre: A Masterpiece by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson, one of the most celebrated poets of all time, is known for her unique style of writing and her ability to capture the essence of life in her poems. Her poem "Uncertain Lease—Develops Lustre" is a masterpiece that explores the concept of life and death, and the beauty that can be found in uncertainty.

The poem begins with the line "Uncertain lease—develops lustre," which sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The word "uncertain" suggests that life is unpredictable and that we never know what the future holds. However, the word "lustre" suggests that there is beauty to be found in this uncertainty.

The first stanza of the poem describes the beauty of nature and how it is constantly changing. Dickinson writes, "Nature, like us, is sometimes caught / Without her diadem." This line suggests that nature, like humans, can be vulnerable and exposed. However, the line "But this confers upon her power" suggests that this vulnerability gives nature a certain power and beauty.

The second stanza of the poem explores the concept of life and death. Dickinson writes, "Life is but a lease of time / Death, the rent we pay." This line suggests that life is temporary and that death is inevitable. However, the line "Uncertainty that frowns on us / Is some estate to stay" suggests that uncertainty is a part of life and that it can be beautiful in its own way.

The third stanza of the poem explores the concept of love and how it can be uncertain. Dickinson writes, "Love is a precarious thing / It comes and goes like breath." This line suggests that love is unpredictable and that it can be fleeting. However, the line "But when it comes, it brings with it / A beauty beyond death" suggests that love is worth the uncertainty because it can bring a beauty that transcends death.

The final stanza of the poem brings all of these concepts together. Dickinson writes, "So life, though little, is assured / By death's uncertain lease / And love, though brief, is beautiful / And nature's changing peace." This line suggests that life, love, and nature are all uncertain, but that they are also beautiful in their own way. The line "By death's uncertain lease" suggests that even though death is inevitable, it can also give life a certain beauty and power.

In conclusion, "Uncertain Lease—Develops Lustre" is a masterpiece by Emily Dickinson that explores the beauty of uncertainty. The poem suggests that even though life, love, and nature are all uncertain, they are also beautiful in their own way. Dickinson's unique style of writing and her ability to capture the essence of life in her poems make this poem a true masterpiece.

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