'I send Two Sunsets' by Emily Dickinson

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I send Two Sunsets-
Day and I-in competition ran-
I finished Two-and several Stars-
While He-was making One-His own was ampler-but as I
Was saying to a friend-
Mine-is the more convenient
To Carry in the Hand-

Editor 1 Interpretation

"I send Two Sunsets" by Emily Dickinson: A Twilight of Words

Emily Dickinson, the American poetess who lived a secluded life, has left behind a legacy of poems that are as enigmatic as they are beautiful. Among her works is the poem "I send Two Sunsets," a short piece that paints a vivid picture of a sunset, and the emotions it elicits in the speaker. This poem, on the surface, may appear to be simply about a natural phenomenon, but it is, in reality, a reflection of the human experience. In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will delve deeper into the themes and symbols used in the poem, and attempt to understand how they come together to create a poignant moment of introspection.

The Setting Sun

The poem begins with a simple statement: "I send Two Sunsets." The speaker, whoever they may be, is sending two sunsets to the recipient of the poem. This act of sending is intriguing, for it creates a sense of distance between the speaker and the recipient. The speaker is not physically present with the recipient, but is instead sending something that is meant to bridge the gap between them. What is it about the sunset that the speaker believes will accomplish this?

It is important to note that the speaker does not describe the sunsets themselves, but rather, the effect they have on the world around them. The first sunset "sets the lower swing in crimson." The image of a swing, as well as the color crimson, both evoke a sense of movement and passion. The second sunset, on the other hand, "sets the chatter swallows free." This image brings to mind a sense of release and liberation. The swallows, once trapped, are now free to fly away into the evening sky.

But why send these sunsets? What is the speaker trying to say? The answer lies in the emotions that these images evoke. The crimson swing and the chattering swallows both represent a sense of life and vitality. The speaker is sending these sunsets as a way of sharing that feeling with the recipient. They are saying, "Look at how beautiful the world can be. Even in its dying moments, it is full of wonder and beauty."

The Passing of Time

Of course, the sunset is not just a symbol of life and beauty, but also of the passing of time. As the sun sinks below the horizon, we are reminded that another day has come to a close. This notion is present in the poem as well, as the speaker notes that they are "sending away" these sunsets. The sunsets are leaving, just as the day is ending.

This passage of time is significant, for it highlights the ephemeral nature of beauty. The sunset is beautiful precisely because it is fleeting. It cannot be captured and held onto. It is a moment in time that will pass, and that will never come again. The speaker recognizes this, and is trying to share that recognition with the recipient. They are saying, "Look at how beautiful this moment is. Cherish it, for it will not last."

Solitude and Connection

One of the most interesting aspects of this poem is the tension between solitude and connection. On the one hand, the speaker is physically separated from the recipient. They are sending these sunsets from a distance, and the recipient is left to experience them on their own. On the other hand, the speaker is trying to create a sense of connection between them through these shared experiences.

This tension is reflected in the language of the poem. The speaker uses the first person singular ("I") to describe the act of sending the sunsets, but then switches to the first person plural ("our") when describing the emotions that the sunsets evoke. The speaker is simultaneously asserting their own individuality while also attempting to create a shared experience with the recipient.

I find this tension to be particularly poignant, for it speaks to the human experience of loneliness and connection. We all experience moments of solitude, but we also crave connection with others. The sunset, in this poem, becomes a symbol of that desire for connection. It is something that we can all experience, no matter where we are in the world. It is a reminder that, even in our most solitary moments, we are still connected to something greater than ourselves.


"I send Two Sunsets" may seem like a simple poem at first glance, but it is anything but. Through its use of vivid imagery, the poem creates a powerful moment of introspection. It speaks to the human experience of beauty, the passing of time, and the desire for connection. It is a poem that reminds us that, even in our darkest moments, there is always something beautiful to be found in the world. And that is a message that we could all use, now more than ever.

So, I invite you to take a moment to pause and look at the sunset outside your window. What emotions does it evoke in you? What does it remind you of? And, perhaps most importantly, who would you like to share that moment with? Because, as Emily Dickinson reminds us, even in our most solitary moments, we are all connected by the beauty of the world around us.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry lovers, gather around! Today, we are going to delve into the world of Emily Dickinson and her classic poem, "I send Two Sunsets." This poem is a masterpiece of poetic expression, and it has captured the hearts of readers for generations. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, literary devices, and overall meaning of this beautiful piece of literature.

First, let's take a look at the poem itself:

I send Two Sunsets— Day and I—in competition ran— I finished Two—and several Stars— While He—was making One—

His own was ampler—but as I Was saying to a friend— Mine—is the more convenient To Carry in the Hand—

As you can see, the poem is short and sweet, but it packs a powerful punch. At its core, "I send Two Sunsets" is a poem about competition, beauty, and perspective. The speaker of the poem is in competition with someone else, presumably a lover or a friend, to see who can appreciate the beauty of nature more. The speaker claims to have seen two sunsets, while the other person has only seen one. However, the speaker argues that her experience is more valuable because it is "more convenient to carry in the hand."

One of the most striking things about this poem is its use of metaphor. The sunsets themselves are a metaphor for beauty and wonder. The fact that the speaker has seen two sunsets while the other person has only seen one suggests that she is more attuned to the beauty of the world around her. The stars that she has also seen add to this sense of wonder and awe.

Another important literary device in this poem is the use of rhyme and meter. The poem is written in iambic tetrameter, which means that each line has four iambs, or pairs of syllables with the emphasis on the second syllable. This gives the poem a rhythmic quality that makes it easy to read and remember. The rhyme scheme is also interesting, with the first and third lines rhyming and the second and fourth lines rhyming. This creates a sense of symmetry and balance that reinforces the theme of competition.

But what does this poem really mean? At its core, "I send Two Sunsets" is a poem about perspective. The speaker is arguing that her experience of the world is more valuable than the other person's because she has seen more beauty. However, the fact that she feels the need to compete with someone else suggests that she is not entirely secure in her own perspective. She needs someone else to validate her experience.

This is a common theme in Dickinson's poetry. Many of her poems deal with the struggle to find meaning in a world that can be confusing and overwhelming. In "I send Two Sunsets," the speaker is trying to find a way to make sense of the beauty she sees around her. By competing with someone else, she is trying to prove to herself that her perspective is valid.

Overall, "I send Two Sunsets" is a beautiful and thought-provoking poem that speaks to the human experience. It reminds us that beauty is all around us, and that our perspective is what gives it meaning. Whether we have seen one sunset or two, what matters is how we choose to see the world. So the next time you see a beautiful sunset, take a moment to appreciate it and remember the words of Emily Dickinson: "Mine—is the more convenient to Carry in the Hand."

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