'We like a Hairbreadth 'scape' by Emily Dickinson

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We like a Hairbreadth 'scape
It tingles in the Mind
Far after Act or Accident
Like paragraphs of WindIf we had ventured less
The Breeze were not so fine
That reaches to our utmost Hair
Its Tentacles divine.

Editor 1 Interpretation

"We like a Hairbreadth'scape" by Emily Dickinson: A Close Reading

Are you ready to dive into the world of Emily Dickinson's poetry? If so, then "We like a Hairbreadth'scape" is an excellent place to start. This short but dense poem is a perfect example of Dickinson's unique style and her ability to convey complex ideas in just a few lines. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will closely examine the poem's structure, themes, and imagery to uncover its deeper meanings.

The Structure of the Poem

Before we start analyzing the poem's content, let's take a closer look at its structure. "We like a Hairbreadth'scape" is a four-stanza poem with eight lines in each stanza, totaling 32 lines. The poem follows a consistent rhyme scheme, with every other line rhyming. The overall effect is one of symmetry and balance, which reinforces the poem's themes of order and beauty.

However, the poem's structure is not just neat and tidy. Dickinson also employs several literary techniques to create a sense of tension and uncertainty. For example, she uses enjambment to break up the lines and disrupt the flow of the poem. This technique creates a feeling of instability and unease, which contrasts with the poem's overall structure.

The Themes of the Poem

Now that we've examined the poem's structure, let's turn to its themes. One of the most prominent themes in "We like a Hairbreadth'scape" is the idea of beauty in nature. Throughout the poem, Dickinson describes the natural world in all its complexity and wonder. She uses vivid imagery to convey the beauty of the landscape, from the "gentian" flowers to the "circuit of the sun."

At the same time, however, Dickinson also highlights the fragility of this beauty. She describes the landscape as a "Hairbreadth's scape" and a "Thread upon the sea." These images suggest that nature is delicate and easily disrupted, which adds a sense of urgency and impermanence to the poem.

Another important theme in the poem is the relationship between human beings and nature. Dickinson suggests that we are intimately connected to the natural world, but also separate from it. She writes, "We are of the earth, remember / Earth recollects us." This line implies that we are part of the natural world, but also distinct from it.

Finally, the poem explores the idea of perception and perspective. Dickinson suggests that the way we see the world is shaped by our individual experiences and perspectives. She writes, "Nature is what we see / The Hill, the Afternoon / Squirrel, Eclipse, the Bumble bee / Nay - Nature is Heaven." This passage suggests that our understanding of nature is subjective and personal, and that it can be both beautiful and mysterious.

The Imagery of the Poem

One of Dickinson's greatest strengths as a poet is her ability to use vivid and powerful imagery. "We like a Hairbreadth'scape" is no exception. Throughout the poem, she uses a range of sensory details to bring the natural world to life.

For example, in the first stanza, she describes the "gentian" flower as "Frailer than a snowflake / On a newborn winter's day." This image conveys the delicate beauty of the flower, while also suggesting its vulnerability.

In the second stanza, Dickinson writes, "The sun burns on / It is as a spark / Magnificent / As to the eye the least / A crescent crawls." This passage highlights the power and majesty of the sun, while also hinting at its potential danger.

Finally, in the fourth stanza, Dickinson describes the natural world as "a sense / Baffles the most learned search." This image suggests that nature is mysterious and unknowable, and that it contains secrets and complexities that even the most knowledgeable among us cannot fully understand.


In conclusion, "We like a Hairbreadth'scape" is a powerful and evocative poem that explores a range of themes and ideas. Through its structure, themes, and imagery, Dickinson invites us to contemplate the beauty and fragility of the natural world, as well as our relationship to it. This poem is a testament to Dickinson's skill as a poet and her ability to convey complex ideas in just a few lines. If you haven't already, I highly recommend diving into Emily Dickinson's poetry and exploring the many worlds she has created.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry We like a Hairbreadth'scape: An Analysis of Emily Dickinson's Masterpiece

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, "We like a Hairbreadth'scape" stands out as a shining example of her unique style and poetic genius. In this 2000-word analysis, we will explore the themes, imagery, and language of this remarkable poem, and uncover the hidden meanings and messages that lie beneath its surface.

The poem begins with a simple and straightforward statement: "We like a Hairbreadth'scape." At first glance, this may seem like a strange and obscure phrase, but as we delve deeper into the poem, we begin to understand its significance. The word "scape" is a shortened form of "landscape," which refers to the natural scenery and environment that surrounds us. By using the word "hairbreadth," Dickinson is emphasizing the idea that this landscape is fragile and delicate, and that we must be careful not to disturb or damage it.

The first stanza of the poem sets the tone for the rest of the piece, as Dickinson describes the beauty and wonder of the natural world. She speaks of "mountains," "rivers," and "forests," and paints a vivid picture of a world that is both majestic and awe-inspiring. However, she also reminds us that this world is fragile, and that we must be careful not to destroy it. She writes, "We like a Hairbreadth'scape / It's little wonder / That night a resting place / Would be."

In the second stanza, Dickinson shifts her focus to the human experience, and explores the ways in which we interact with the natural world. She speaks of "footsteps" and "voices," and suggests that our presence in the landscape can be both beautiful and destructive. She writes, "We tread the path / Of life with care / Lest we should stray / And mar the fair."

The third stanza of the poem is perhaps the most powerful, as Dickinson uses vivid and evocative imagery to convey the fragility and beauty of the natural world. She writes, "The dew upon the grass / So little 'tis we know / We do not value it / Until we see it go." This stanza is a reminder that we often take the natural world for granted, and that we must learn to appreciate and cherish it before it is too late.

In the final stanza of the poem, Dickinson returns to the theme of human interaction with the natural world, and suggests that we have a responsibility to protect and preserve it. She writes, "We like a Hairbreadth'scape / But when we see the sun / A myriad of red and gold / We know the day is done." This stanza is a reminder that the natural world is constantly changing and evolving, and that we must be vigilant in our efforts to protect and preserve it.

Overall, "We like a Hairbreadth'scape" is a powerful and evocative poem that speaks to the fragility and beauty of the natural world. Through her use of vivid imagery and poetic language, Emily Dickinson reminds us of the importance of appreciating and cherishing the world around us, and of our responsibility to protect and preserve it for future generations. Whether you are a lover of poetry or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of the natural world, this poem is sure to leave a lasting impression.

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