Poem 287: “A Clock stopped”

Some say, that this poem isn’t a poem that many know. That is actually a pity since this poem handles one of the topics that Emily Dickinson wrote a lot about: death. In poem 287, A Clock stopped, the metaphor of a stopping clock is the same as death.

This poem starts with what it is all about A Clock stopped. Dickinson introduces a metaphor here: the clock represents life and it has stopped. A clock shows time and if a clock stops, it seems that time will stop.

In the next sentence, we read where the clock is not located. It is not located on a mantel. Since there are figures in or on this clock that once moved and are now hunched – they sit or stand, bent forward – with pain. This pain is the sadness, the grief that is related to dying. This is not the grief of those who are left behind. This is a sadness from beyond the grave. The one who died, experiences pain, because life has come to an end. There is no way, that the puppet will start moving again.

The usage of these metaphors is quite impressive. It is a pity that this poem isn’t one of the well-known poems of this American poetess.

Poem 287: "A Clock stopped"

Poem 287:  “A Clock stopped”

A Clock stopped —
Not the Mantel’s —
Geneva’s farthest skill
Can’t put the puppet bowing —
That just now dangled still —

An awe came on the Trinket!
The Figures hunched, with pain —
Then quivered out of Decimals —
Into Degreeless Noon —

It will not stir for Doctors —
This Pendulum of snow —
This Shopman importunes it —
While cool — concernless No —

Nods from the Gilded pointers —
Nods from the Seconds slim —
Decades of Arrogance between
The Dial life —
And Him —

Emily Dickinson

Poem 287: "A Clock stopped"
Article Name
Poem 287: "A Clock stopped"
Read a not so well-known poem by Emily Dickinson about death.
Publisher Name
The Ministry of Poetic Affairs

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