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After great pain, a formal feeling comes by Emily Dickinson


"After great pain, a formal feeling comes" speaks of a great pain the poet feels and when the feeling began, whether it was recent or centuries before. The poet speaks of how even if she survives today, the feeling will still be there tomorrow.

This poem consists of just three stanzas. The first and third stanza are made up of four lines while the second contains five. Actually, the entire poem can easily be sectioned off into each individual stanza. For example, the first stanza consists of four iambic-pentameter lines. The second stanza consists of five lines without any discernable meters. The third contains a rhyming couplet of iambic-triameter and a rhyming couplet of iambic-pentameter. The first stanza contains the rhyme scheme AABB. The second ABCDD.

Johnson number: 341


After great pain, a formal feeling comes

After great pain, a formal feeling comes
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Toombs
The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought
A Wooden way
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone

This is the Hour of Lead
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons recollect the Snow
First-Chill-then Stupor-then the letting go 

Next: Because I Could Not Stop for Death
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Literary Movement
19th Century


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