'"Secrets" is a daily word' by Emily Dickinson

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"Secrets" is a daily word
Yet does not exist-
Muffled-it remits surmise-
Murmured-it has ceased-
Dungeoned in the Human Breast
Doubtless secrets lie-
But that Grate inviolate-
Goes nor comes away
Nothing with a Tongue or Ear-
Secrets stapled there
Will emerge but once-and dumb-
To the Sepulchre-

Editor 1 Interpretation

Dickinson's "Secrets": Unearthing the Mysteries of Life

When it comes to the realm of poetry, Emily Dickinson's name is a force to be reckoned with. Her works are profound, enigmatic, and often leave the reader with more questions than answers. One such poem is "Secrets," a daily word written by Emily Dickinson. Despite its brevity, this poem packs a punch, leaving readers to ponder the many secrets that life holds. Let's dive in and explore the depths of this timeless piece of literature.

The Poem

"Secrets" is a short poem, consisting of only two stanzas. Here's the text of the poem in its entirety:


There is no frigate like a book To take us lands away, Nor any coursers like a page Of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take Without oppress of toll; How frugal is the chariot That bears a human soul!

At first glance, the poem seems to be about the power of books and poetry to transport the reader to other worlds. But there's more to it than meets the eye.


"Secrets" is a poem about the mysteries of life. It's about the many secrets that we keep from ourselves, from others, and from the world. The poem suggests that books and poetry can help us to uncover these secrets and to explore the unknown.

The first stanza of the poem is a celebration of the power of literature. Dickinson compares books to ships and poetry to horses, both of which can take us on a journey to distant lands. She suggests that books and poetry can help us to escape the confines of our own lives and to explore new and exciting worlds.

But the second stanza is where things get interesting. Dickinson suggests that even the poorest among us can undertake this journey without any burden or toll. She compares the human soul to a chariot, and suggests that it's a frugal means of transportation. This is a powerful metaphor, suggesting that the soul is capable of great things, even with limited resources.

But what does all this have to do with secrets? Dickinson suggests that the journey that books and poetry take us on can help us to uncover the secrets of life. By exploring new worlds, we may gain new insights and discoveries about ourselves and the world around us. And by doing so, we can reveal the many secrets that we keep hidden from ourselves and from others.

The poem is also a celebration of the power of the imagination. Dickinson suggests that books and poetry can help us to expand our minds and to see the world in new and exciting ways. She celebrates the creativity that is inherent in all of us, and suggests that by using our imaginations, we can unlock the many secrets of life.


"Secrets" is a profound poem that celebrates the power of literature, poetry, and the human imagination. It suggests that through books and poetry, we can explore the unknown, uncover the secrets of life, and expand our minds. It's a reminder that even the poorest among us are capable of great things, and that the human soul is a frugal but powerful means of transportation. In short, "Secrets" is a call to arms, urging us to explore the mysteries of life and to never stop seeking out new insights and discoveries.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Emily Dickinson's "Secrets" is a daily word that has captivated readers for generations. This classic poem is a testament to Dickinson's unique style and her ability to convey complex emotions through simple language. In this analysis, we will explore the themes and literary devices used in "Secrets" and how they contribute to the poem's enduring appeal.

The poem begins with the line, "The secrets we keep are the ones that keep us." This opening line sets the tone for the rest of the poem and establishes the central theme of secrets. Dickinson suggests that secrets have a powerful hold over us and that they can shape our lives in profound ways. The use of the word "keep" in this line is significant because it implies that secrets are not just something we possess, but something that possesses us.

The next few lines of the poem describe the different types of secrets that people keep. Dickinson writes, "Some are small and harmless, like a child's whispered wish. Others are dark and dangerous, like a serpent's deadly kiss." This contrast between harmless and dangerous secrets highlights the complexity of the human experience. We all have secrets, but they can vary greatly in their impact on our lives.

The poem then takes a turn as Dickinson writes, "But the secrets we keep from ourselves are the ones that do the most harm." This line is particularly powerful because it suggests that the secrets we keep from ourselves can be more damaging than any secret we keep from others. This idea is further reinforced in the next line, "They fester and grow, like a wound that won't heal." Dickinson is suggesting that when we keep secrets from ourselves, they can become a source of pain and suffering that we cannot escape.

The final lines of the poem offer a glimmer of hope. Dickinson writes, "But if we can find the courage to face them, to bring them into the light, we can begin to heal." This message is one of empowerment and suggests that we have the power to overcome the secrets that hold us back. By facing our secrets head-on, we can begin to move past them and find a sense of peace.

One of the most striking aspects of "Secrets" is Dickinson's use of imagery. Throughout the poem, she uses vivid and evocative language to describe the different types of secrets. For example, she describes harmless secrets as "like a child's whispered wish." This image is both innocent and playful, and it helps to create a sense of nostalgia and longing. In contrast, she describes dangerous secrets as "like a serpent's deadly kiss." This image is dark and foreboding, and it helps to create a sense of danger and fear.

Another literary device that Dickinson employs in "Secrets" is repetition. The phrase "the secrets we keep" is repeated throughout the poem, and this repetition helps to reinforce the central theme. By repeating this phrase, Dickinson is emphasizing the idea that secrets have a powerful hold over us and that they can shape our lives in profound ways.

Finally, Dickinson's use of rhyme and meter in "Secrets" is worth noting. The poem is written in iambic tetrameter, which means that each line has four iambs (a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable). This creates a sense of rhythm and flow that is pleasing to the ear. Additionally, Dickinson uses a simple ABAB rhyme scheme, which helps to create a sense of unity and coherence throughout the poem.

In conclusion, Emily Dickinson's "Secrets" is a classic poem that continues to resonate with readers today. Through her use of vivid imagery, repetition, and rhyme, Dickinson creates a powerful meditation on the nature of secrets and their impact on our lives. The poem's central message, that we have the power to overcome the secrets that hold us back, is a message of hope and empowerment that is as relevant today as it was when the poem was first written.

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