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The Bustle in a House by Emily Dickinson


In "The Bustle in a House", Dickinson is discussing her loved one passing away. It is known that Dickinson was in a relationship with someone who passed away. However, some people think that "death" as a metaphor for a break up, and to her, it feels like a funeral. She feels that she is "putting love away" as she does not feel she can handle it ever again, "until eternity." Nonetheless, this poem is quite possibly literal. It is most likely about her love passing away and she will not be able to see them again until she dies.

This short poem consists of only two stanzas with four lines in each. Dickinson uses imperfect rhymes and half-rhymes instead of perfect-rhymes to rhyme the second and fourth lines of each stanza. The first, second, and fourth lines are iambic-triameter while the third line is iambic-quatrameter in each stanza.

Johnson number: 1078


The Bustle in a House

The bustle in a house
The morning after death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted upon earth, -

The sweeping up the heart,
And putting love away
We shall not want to use again
Until eternity.

Next: Come Slowly, Eden!

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Literary Movement
19th Century

Death, Lost Love, Grief