'Obtaining but our own Extent' by Emily Dickinson

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Obtaining but our own Extent
In whatsoever Realm-
'Twas Christ's own personal Expanse
That bore him from the Tomb-

Editor 1 Interpretation

Poetry, Obtaining but our own Extent by Emily Dickinson

Are you a lover of poetry? Do you appreciate beautiful, thought-provoking words that explore the depths of the human experience? If so, then you will undoubtedly find yourself drawn to Emily Dickinson's classic poem, "Poetry, Obtaining but our own Extent."

At its core, this poem serves as an ode to the power of poetry itself. Dickinson recognizes that poetry is often seen as a frivolous pursuit, something that exists solely for the purpose of entertainment. However, she argues that this view is shortsighted and fails to acknowledge the true value of poetry.

In the first stanza of the poem, Dickinson describes poetry as something that is "obtained" rather than something that is given. This suggests that poetry is not something that can be acquired easily, but rather something that requires effort and dedication on the part of the poet. Furthermore, Dickinson notes that poetry is obtained "but our own extent." This phrase emphasizes the personal nature of poetry and suggests that each poet is limited only by their own abilities and experiences.

As the poem continues, Dickinson explores the ways in which poetry can provide a deeper understanding of the world around us. She notes that poetry can "melt" the barriers between people, allowing us to connect with one another on a deeper level. Additionally, she argues that poetry can help us to better understand our own emotions and experiences, allowing us to navigate the complexities of life with greater clarity and insight.

One of the most powerful aspects of this poem is the way in which Dickinson acknowledges the challenges that come with writing poetry. She notes that poetry requires a willingness to "stare," to examine the world with a critical and unflinching eye. This can be difficult and even painful at times, but Dickinson argues that it is necessary in order to create truly meaningful poetry.

Ultimately, Dickinson ends the poem by acknowledging that poetry may not always be appreciated or understood by everyone. However, she argues that this should not deter us from pursuing our love of poetry. Instead, she encourages us to continue writing and exploring the power of language, even in the face of adversity.

Overall, "Poetry, Obtaining but our own Extent" is a powerful tribute to the beauty and complexity of poetry. Through her words, Dickinson encourages us to embrace the challenges of writing and to recognize the transformative power of language. If you are a lover of poetry, then this poem is not to be missed.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry is a form of art that has been around for centuries, and it has been used to express a wide range of emotions and ideas. Emily Dickinson, one of the most celebrated poets of all time, was a master of this art form. Her poem, "Obtaining but our own Extent," is a classic example of her unique style and her ability to convey complex ideas in a simple and elegant way.

The poem begins with the line, "Obtaining but our own Extent," which immediately sets the tone for the rest of the piece. The word "obtaining" suggests that the speaker is actively seeking something, while "our own extent" implies that this something is limited to the speaker's own abilities or resources. This sets up a tension between the desire to achieve something and the limitations that the speaker faces.

The second line of the poem, "Was ever firmament to us," reinforces this tension by suggesting that the speaker is looking up at the sky and feeling small and insignificant in the face of the vastness of the universe. The word "firmament" is a biblical term that refers to the heavens or the sky, and it suggests a sense of awe and wonder at the natural world. However, the phrase "to us" suggests that the speaker is not just observing the sky, but is also trying to make sense of it in relation to their own life.

The third line of the poem, "The limits of the possible," brings the tension between desire and limitation to the forefront. The phrase "limits of the possible" suggests that the speaker is aware of their own limitations and is trying to push beyond them. However, the word "limits" also implies that there are boundaries that cannot be crossed, which creates a sense of frustration and disappointment.

The fourth line of the poem, "No horizon hath," continues the theme of limitation and suggests that the speaker is searching for something that is beyond their reach. The word "horizon" is a metaphor for the limits of human knowledge and understanding, and it suggests that the speaker is trying to push beyond these limits in order to achieve something greater.

The fifth line of the poem, "The avidity of hope," introduces a new element into the poem: hope. The word "avidity" suggests a strong desire or craving, and it implies that the speaker is driven by a powerful sense of hope. This hope is what motivates the speaker to push beyond their limitations and to strive for something greater.

The sixth line of the poem, "But limits space and time," brings the tension between desire and limitation to a climax. The phrase "limits space and time" suggests that the speaker is aware of the constraints that they face and that they are struggling to overcome them. However, the word "limits" also implies that there are boundaries that cannot be crossed, which creates a sense of frustration and despair.

The final line of the poem, "We're Deity if we can cope," is a powerful statement of hope and resilience. The word "Deity" suggests a divine or godlike quality, and it implies that the speaker is capable of achieving something truly great if they can overcome their limitations. The phrase "if we can cope" suggests that the speaker is aware of the challenges that they face, but that they are determined to overcome them.

Overall, "Obtaining but our own Extent" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that explores the tension between desire and limitation. Emily Dickinson's use of language and imagery creates a sense of awe and wonder at the natural world, while also highlighting the struggles and challenges that we all face in our lives. The poem is a testament to the power of hope and resilience, and it reminds us that we are capable of achieving great things if we can overcome our limitations.

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