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What if I say I shall not wait! by Emily Dickinson


"What if I say I shall not wait!" is a poem written by Emily Dickinson. This poem is about Dickinson's thoughts of suicide. She is talking to God about what happens if she were to "file this mortal off" (kill herself). She states that she would then be free.

This poem is written as four stanzas with three lines in each. The first two lines in each stanza are made up of iambic-quadrameter while the third line is written as iambic-triameter. The first two lines of each stanza also rhyme (imperfectly).

Johnson number: 277


What if I say I shall not wait!

What if I say I shall not wait!
What if I burst the fleshly gate
And pass, escaped, to thee?

What if I file this mortal off,
See where it hurt me, - that's enough, -
And wade in liberty?

They cannot take me any more, - 
Dungeons may call, and guns implore;
Unmeaning, now, to me

As laughter was an hour ago,
Or laces, or a traveling show,
Or who died yesterday!

Next: When roses cease to bloom, dear
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Literary Movement
19th Century

God, Freedom

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