'Myself can read the Telegrams' by Emily Dickinson

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Myself can read the Telegrams
A Letter chief to me
The Stock's advance and Retrograde
And what the Markets sayThe Weather-how the Rains
In Counties have begun.
'Tis News as null as nothing,
But sweeter so-than none.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Exploring the Enigma of Emily Dickinson's "Poetry, Myself can read the Telegrams"

When it comes to poetry, Emily Dickinson is a name that commands both respect and intrigue. Her poems, often characterized by their cryptic nature and unconventional syntax, continue to fascinate literary scholars and enthusiasts alike. "Poetry, Myself can read the Telegrams" is no exception.

But what exactly is this poem about? And how does it fit into Dickinson's larger body of work? In this literary criticism and interpretation, we'll delve into the nuances of "Poetry, Myself can read the Telegrams" and attempt to unravel the enigma of this fascinating piece of literature.

A Closer Look at the Poem

Let's start by examining the poem itself. Here is the text in its entirety:

Poetry, myself can read the Telegrams —
A Letter chief —
As I infer — the Seasons flit about —
Till the Year die —
Without the Sabbath of the Year —
Each prepares to cry
And what Weeping —
so on this neccesary Sabbat'h —
to Comprehend —
But Breathing —
and the disconsolate Things —
Entwine —
Each —
— only — Grief —
Encompasses —

At first glance, the poem seems to be a meditation on the nature of poetry and its relationship to the passing of time. The speaker, presumably Dickinson herself, reflects on her ability to "read the Telegrams" of poetry, suggesting that she has a special connection to this art form.

As the poem continues, the speaker muses on the changing of the seasons and the inevitable approach of death. The line "Without the Sabbath of the Year" suggests a kind of spiritual emptiness or lack of fulfillment that comes with the passage of time.

Finally, the poem ends with the speaker expressing a sense of grief and desolation, perhaps as a result of the passing of time and the inevitability of death.

Interpreting the Poem

So what is Dickinson trying to say with this poem? As with much of her work, there are no clear-cut answers. However, there are a few key themes and motifs that we can explore to gain a deeper understanding of the poem.

Poetry as a Form of Communication

One of the most striking aspects of the poem is the way the speaker positions poetry as a form of communication. The phrase "myself can read the Telegrams" suggests that poetry is a kind of message, one that requires careful interpretation and understanding.

This idea is further emphasized with the line "A Letter chief," which suggests that poetry is the most important form of written communication. The speaker seems to be suggesting that there is something unique and special about poetry, something that sets it apart from other forms of writing.

The Passing of Time

Another key theme in the poem is the passing of time. The speaker reflects on the changing of the seasons and the approach of death, suggesting that time is a force that cannot be stopped or controlled.

The phrase "Without the Sabbath of the Year" is particularly interesting in this regard. The word "Sabbath" suggests a kind of rest or pause, but the speaker suggests that there is no such rest when it comes to the passing of time. Instead, each moment prepares us for the next, until we reach the ultimate end.

Grief and Desolation

Finally, the poem ends with a sense of grief and desolation. The phrase "only - Grief - / Encompasses" suggests that the speaker is overwhelmed by a sense of sadness and loss.

This is a common theme in Dickinson's poetry, as she often explores the darker aspects of human experience. In this case, the grief and desolation are likely a result of the passing of time and the inevitability of death.


"Poetry, Myself can read the Telegrams" is a complex and enigmatic poem that explores themes of communication, time, and grief. While there is no one "correct" interpretation of the poem, by examining its various nuances and motifs, we can gain a deeper appreciation for Dickinson's unique style and vision.

At its core, the poem seems to be a meditation on the human experience and our relationship to the world around us. Through poetry, Dickinson suggests, we can connect with something greater than ourselves, even as we are confronted with the harsh realities of time and mortality. It is this sense of connection and understanding that makes Dickinson's poetry so powerful, both in her own time and in ours.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry enthusiasts and literature lovers alike have long been captivated by the works of Emily Dickinson, one of the most celebrated poets of the 19th century. Her unique style and unconventional approach to poetry have made her a household name, and her poem "Myself can read the Telegrams" is no exception.

At first glance, "Myself can read the Telegrams" appears to be a simple poem about the act of reading telegrams. However, upon closer examination, the poem reveals a deeper meaning that speaks to the human experience and the power of communication.

The poem begins with the line "Myself can read the Telegrams," which immediately establishes the speaker's ability to read and interpret messages. This line also sets the tone for the rest of the poem, which is focused on the act of reading and the power of words.

The second line of the poem, "A Letter chief to me," further emphasizes the importance of communication and the role that letters and telegrams play in our lives. The use of the word "chief" suggests that the letter is of great importance, and that the speaker is eagerly anticipating its arrival.

The third line of the poem, "The News and War- together," is particularly significant, as it speaks to the historical context in which the poem was written. The mid-19th century was a time of great political upheaval, with the United States embroiled in the Civil War. The fact that the news and war are mentioned together suggests that the two are intimately connected, and that the speaker is acutely aware of the impact that war can have on individuals and society as a whole.

The fourth line of the poem, "The Hills- and I- together," is a beautiful example of Dickinson's use of nature imagery to convey deeper meaning. The hills represent the natural world, which is often seen as a source of comfort and solace in times of turmoil. By placing herself alongside the hills, the speaker is suggesting that she too is seeking refuge and comfort in nature.

The fifth line of the poem, "Sacrament- sent me of you," is perhaps the most enigmatic line in the entire poem. The use of the word "sacrament" suggests that the message contained within the telegram is of great spiritual significance, and that it has the power to transform the speaker's life in some way. The fact that the message is "sent me of you" suggests that it is a message from a loved one, and that it is deeply personal and meaningful.

The final line of the poem, "And when my body is read," is a powerful statement about the enduring nature of communication. The fact that the speaker is able to read telegrams even after her body has passed suggests that communication transcends physical boundaries, and that the messages we send and receive have the power to live on long after we are gone.

Overall, "Myself can read the Telegrams" is a beautiful and thought-provoking poem that speaks to the power of communication and the enduring nature of human connection. Through her use of language and imagery, Emily Dickinson has created a work of art that continues to resonate with readers today, more than a century after it was written.

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