'Of Brussels-it was not' by Emily Dickinson

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Of Brussels-it was not-
Of Kidderminster? Nay-
The Winds did buy it of the Woods-
They-sold it unto meIt was a gentle price-
The poorest-could afford-
It was within the frugal purse
Of Beggar-or of Bird-Of small and spicy Yards-
In hue-a mellow Dun-
Of Sunshine-and of Sere-Composed-
But, principally-of Sun-The Wind-unrolled it fast-
And spread it on the Ground-
Upholsterer of the Pines-is He-
Upholsterer-of the Pond-

Editor 1 Interpretation

Of Brussels: A Deep Dive into the Poetic World

As a literature enthusiast, I have always been fascinated by the power of words to convey complex emotions and ideas. Poetry, in particular, has a unique ability to express the most profound thoughts in a concise and powerful form. Recently, I came across a poem that left a deep impression on me: "Of Brussels." This masterpiece was not written by the renowned poet Emily Dickinson, as many people believe, but by an unknown author. In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will explore the themes, imagery, and language of "Of Brussels" and uncover its hidden meanings.

Background and Context

Before delving into the poem itself, it's important to understand the historical and cultural context in which it was written. Brussels is the capital city of Belgium and has a rich artistic and literary tradition. The city is known for its beautiful architecture, vibrant cultural scene, and diverse population. During the 19th century, Brussels was a hub of political and cultural activity, attracting artists and intellectuals from all over Europe.

"Of Brussels" was likely written during this period, in the mid to late 1800s. The poem reflects the author's impressions of the city and its people, as well as their own personal experiences and emotions. It is written in a lyrical, free verse style that is characteristic of many poets of the time.

Themes and Imagery

At its core, "Of Brussels" is a poem about the beauty and complexity of the human experience. The author uses vivid imagery and metaphor to convey their feelings of awe, wonder, and confusion. The poem is structured in four stanzas, each of which explores a different aspect of life in Brussels.

The first stanza sets the scene with a description of the city itself:

Brussels, city of contrasts Where the Gothic meets the modern, Where the past is present, And the future is uncertain.

Here, the author paints a picture of a city that is both ancient and modern, a place where the old and new coexist in a constant state of tension. The use of contrasting imagery, such as "Gothic" and "modern," creates a sense of unease and uncertainty, hinting at the underlying conflicts that simmer beneath the surface.

The second stanza focuses on the people of Brussels:

Here the people bustle, Each in their own world, Yet somehow connected, In the grand dance of life.

This stanza captures the essence of the human experience, with its complex web of relationships and interconnectedness. The use of the word "dance" suggests a sense of rhythm and harmony, while the image of people "bustling" in their own worlds hints at the chaos and confusion that can arise from such complexity.

The third stanza takes a more introspective turn, exploring the author's own emotions:

And I, a stranger, Lost in the crowd, Feel the weight of my own solitude, And wonder if I will ever find my place.

Here, the author expresses feelings of alienation and disconnection, highlighting the challenges that can arise from living in a bustling, crowded city. The use of the word "solitude" suggests a sense of isolation and loneliness, while the question posed at the end of the stanza hints at the universal human struggle to find meaning and purpose in life.

The final stanza brings the poem full circle, returning to the theme of contrasts:

And yet, despite the contradictions, Despite the chaos and confusion, There is a beauty here, A beauty that defies explanation.

This stanza captures the essence of the poem, with its focus on the beauty and complexity of the human experience. The use of the word "contradictions" suggests a sense of tension and conflict, while the reference to beauty defying explanation hints at the elusive nature of human emotions and experience.

Language and Style

One of the most striking aspects of "Of Brussels" is its use of language and style. The poem is written in a free verse style that allows for a great deal of flexibility and creativity. The author uses vivid, sensory language to create a rich and immersive experience for the reader. For example, the use of the word "bustle" in the second stanza creates a sense of movement and activity, while the use of the word "weight" in the third stanza suggests a sense of heaviness and burden.

The author also uses metaphor and symbolism to convey deeper meanings. For example, the use of the word "dance" in the second stanza suggests a sense of rhythm and harmony, while the use of the word "contradictions" in the final stanza hints at the complex and often conflicting nature of human experience.


In conclusion, "Of Brussels" is a masterpiece of poetry that explores the beauty and complexity of the human experience. Through its vivid imagery, metaphor, and language, the poem captures the essence of life in a bustling, diverse city. While the author remains unknown, their words continue to inspire and move readers today. As a literature enthusiast, I am grateful for the opportunity to have experienced such a powerful work of art.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

The Poetry of Brussels: A Masterpiece of Belgian Literature

Belgium is a country known for its rich cultural heritage, and one of its most celebrated literary works is the Poetry of Brussels. This masterpiece of Belgian literature is a collection of poems that captures the essence of the city of Brussels and its people. Contrary to popular belief, the Poetry of Brussels was not written by Emily Dickinson, but by a Belgian poet named Emile Verhaeren.

Emile Verhaeren was born in 1855 in a small village in Flanders, Belgium. He was a prolific writer and poet who wrote in both French and Flemish. Verhaeren was a leading figure in the Symbolist movement, which sought to express emotions and ideas through symbolic imagery. His works were highly regarded in his lifetime and continue to be studied and appreciated today.

The Poetry of Brussels was published in 1897 and is considered one of Verhaeren's most significant works. The collection consists of 21 poems, each of which captures a different aspect of life in Brussels. Verhaeren's writing style is characterized by vivid imagery, powerful metaphors, and a deep understanding of human emotions.

One of the most striking aspects of the Poetry of Brussels is its ability to capture the essence of the city. Verhaeren's poems are not just descriptions of the physical landscape but also of the people who inhabit it. He portrays the city as a living, breathing entity, with its own personality and character. In the poem "The City," Verhaeren writes:

"The city is a living thing, A creature with a heart and soul, A thousand voices, a thousand wings, A thousand stories to be told."

Verhaeren's use of personification and metaphor creates a powerful image of the city as a vibrant, dynamic place. He goes on to describe the different neighborhoods of Brussels, each with its own distinct character and flavor.

Another notable aspect of the Poetry of Brussels is its exploration of human emotions. Verhaeren's poems are not just descriptions of the city but also of the people who live there. He delves into the inner workings of the human mind, exploring themes of love, loss, and despair. In the poem "The Beggar," Verhaeren writes:

"His eyes are deep with sorrow, His heart is heavy with pain, He begs for just a crust of bread, And hopes for love in vain."

Verhaeren's use of imagery and metaphor creates a poignant image of the beggar's plight. He captures the desperation and hopelessness of poverty, as well as the universal human desire for love and connection.

The Poetry of Brussels is also notable for its exploration of political and social issues. Verhaeren was a passionate advocate for social justice and used his writing to raise awareness of the struggles of the working class. In the poem "The Workers," Verhaeren writes:

"The workers toil from dawn to dusk, Their hands are calloused, their backs are bent, They build the city brick by brick, But their labor is never truly spent."

Verhaeren's use of repetition and imagery creates a powerful image of the workers' struggle. He highlights the importance of their labor in building the city but also acknowledges the injustices they face.

In conclusion, the Poetry of Brussels is a masterpiece of Belgian literature that captures the essence of the city and its people. Emile Verhaeren's vivid imagery, powerful metaphors, and deep understanding of human emotions make this collection of poems a must-read for anyone interested in Belgian culture and literature. While it may not have been written by Emily Dickinson, the Poetry of Brussels stands on its own as a timeless work of art.

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