'In falling Timbers buried' by Emily Dickinson

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In falling Timbers buried-
There breathed a Man-
Outside-the spades-were plying-
The Lungs-within-Could He-know-they sought Him-
Could They-know-He breathed-
Horrid Sand Partition-
Neither-could be heard-Never slacked the Diggers-
But when Spades had done-
Oh, Reward of Anguish,
It was dying-Then-Many Things-are fruitless-
'Tis a Baffling Earth-
But there is no Gratitude
Like the Grace-of Death-

Editor 1 Interpretation

In falling Timbers buried: A Masterpiece of Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson, the American poetess, has left behind an extensive collection of poems that still resonate with readers today. One of the masterpieces of her work is the poem "In falling Timbers buried," which was written in the 1860s.

This literary criticism and interpretation aim to delve into the poem's nuances, explore its literary devices, and analyze its themes.

Summary of In falling Timbers buried

The poem "In falling Timbers buried" is a short poem of six stanzas, each consisting of four lines. The poem's basic structure is that of a ballad, with an ABCB rhyme scheme. The poem's title itself is a metaphor that sets the tone for the rest of the piece.

The speaker of the poem describes a scene where she witnesses the felling of a tree. The tree falls, and the speaker sees a bird's nest in the branches. The speaker notes that the nest is buried beneath the felled tree, and the tree's leaves and branches now cover the nest. The speaker then reflects on the fragility of life and how quickly it can be taken away.

Analysis of Literary Elements


The title of the poem, "In falling Timbers buried," is a metaphor that sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The metaphor refers to the idea that when something is destroyed or taken away, something else is buried beneath it. In this case, the falling timber has buried the bird's nest. The metaphor is central to the poem's theme of the fragility of life.

Rhyme Scheme

The poem has an ABCB rhyme scheme, which is a ballad structure. The rhyme scheme serves to create a musical quality to the poem that reflects the natural rhythm of the falling timber.


The poem's imagery is vivid and powerful, creating a clear picture of the scene. The image of the fallen tree covering the bird's nest evokes a sense of sadness and loss. The speaker's reflection on the fragility of life is also a powerful image that is easy to relate to.


Alliteration is used throughout the poem, creating a rhythmic quality that adds to the poem's musicality. Examples of alliteration in the poem include "fleeting life," "falling timber," and "bright bird."


Enjambment is used in the poem to create a sense of flow between the stanzas. It also serves to emphasize the fragility of life, as the end of one line flows seamlessly into the next, just as life moves quickly from one moment to the next.


Fragility of Life

The main theme of the poem is the fragility of life. The bird's nest, which is a symbol of life, is buried beneath the fallen timber, and the speaker reflects on how quickly life can be taken away. The poem serves as a powerful reminder that life is fleeting and fragile, and we should cherish every moment.

The Cycles of Life

The poem also touches on the idea of the cycles of life. The falling timber represents the end of one cycle, while the buried bird's nest represents the beginning of a new cycle. Life is constantly changing, and we must learn to adapt and accept these changes.

Man's Relationship with Nature

The poem also explores man's relationship with nature. The act of felling the tree represents man's impact on the natural world. The poem serves as a reminder to be mindful of our actions and their impact on the environment.


"In falling Timbers buried" is a beautiful and powerful poem that explores the fragility of life and man's relationship with nature. The poem's use of metaphor, rhyme scheme, imagery, alliteration, and enjambment creates a musical quality that reflects the natural rhythm of life. The poem serves as a powerful reminder to cherish every moment and be mindful of our impact on the world around us. Emily Dickinson's work continues to inspire and move readers today, and "In falling Timbers buried" is no exception.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry In Falling Timbers Buried: An Analysis of Emily Dickinson's Classic

Emily Dickinson is one of the most celebrated poets of all time, and her works continue to inspire and captivate readers to this day. One of her most famous poems, "Poetry In Falling Timbers Buried," is a powerful and evocative piece that explores the beauty and wonder of nature, as well as the fleeting nature of life itself.

At its core, "Poetry In Falling Timbers Buried" is a meditation on the cyclical nature of life and death. The poem begins with a description of a fallen tree, which has been "buried" by the earth and the passing of time. Despite its apparent lifelessness, however, the tree is still full of poetry and beauty, as evidenced by the "birds" that "sing" in its branches and the "flowers" that "bloom" at its feet.

This juxtaposition of life and death is a recurring theme throughout the poem, and it is perhaps most strikingly expressed in the second stanza. Here, Dickinson describes the "moss" that grows on the tree's "bark," which is both a symbol of decay and a sign of new life. The moss is "soft" and "green," suggesting that even in death, there is still the potential for growth and renewal.

The poem's third stanza continues this theme, as Dickinson describes the "worm" that "feeds" on the fallen tree. Again, this is a symbol of decay and death, but it is also a reminder that even in death, there is still a purpose and a place in the natural order of things. The worm is not a destructive force, but rather a necessary part of the cycle of life and death.

Throughout the poem, Dickinson's language is rich and evocative, and she uses a variety of poetic techniques to convey her message. For example, the repetition of the word "buried" in the first line of each stanza creates a sense of rhythm and momentum, while the use of alliteration in phrases like "flowers that bloom" and "worm that feeds" adds a musical quality to the poem.

At the same time, Dickinson's use of imagery is both vivid and symbolic. The fallen tree is not just a physical object, but a metaphor for the human experience of life and death. The birds that sing in its branches represent the beauty and joy of life, while the moss and the worm represent the inevitability of decay and death.

Ultimately, "Poetry In Falling Timbers Buried" is a powerful and moving poem that speaks to the universal human experience of life and death. Through her use of language and imagery, Dickinson reminds us that even in the face of death and decay, there is still beauty and wonder to be found in the natural world.

As readers, we are invited to contemplate the fleeting nature of life and the inevitability of death, but also to celebrate the beauty and poetry that can be found in even the most unexpected places. In this way, "Poetry In Falling Timbers Buried" is a testament to the enduring power of poetry to inspire and uplift us, even in the darkest of times.

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