Can someone help me with this Emily Dickinson poem?

Can someone please help me translate or describe what this poem means. It is by Emily Dickinson.

The Bee is not afraid of me.
I know the Butterfly.
The pretty people in the Woods
Receive me cordially—

The Brooks laugh louder when I come—
The Breezes madder play;
Wherefore mine eye thy silver mists,
Wherefore, Oh Summer’s Day?

5 thoughts on “Can someone help me with this Emily Dickinson poem?

  1. She feels happy with her surroundings; nature is kind to her. But she wonders at her own sadness on such a wonderful summer day. The poem is expressing that although there is no apparent or outward reason for her to cry she feels like crying inside. Most of Ms. Dickinson’s poetry is romantic, and she is probably referring to her heartache that can’t be softened by the beauty and freedom of her surroundings.

    Hope this helps.

  2. I think that it means you should be one with nature and know the secrets of the earth. It is showing you how beautiful those things are.


  3. First, try putting yourself into the speaker’s place. See what she sees. There is a bee, and a butterfly as she walks through the woods. She hears the brook and the wind, and she can see the fog through the trees. It must be getting warmer, as it’s summertime.

    Now try asking questions (and remember that there really is no wrong answer). Why isn’t the bee afraid of her? Why do the brooks seem to laugh louder as she gets closer? Why is she writing the poem? Who are the pretty people in the woods? Is she talking about fairies, or is she talking about other little things like butterflies and rabbits?

    Look at the poem overall. What is the tone? Is it sad or is it celebrating something? Why does it take that tone? Given what you know about the author, why do you think it takes that tone? Is she part of the surroundings or is she alien to it?

    Asking these types of questions (as simplistic as they may seem) can help you to work out the meaning of a poem. Not everyone will have the same meaning, and everyone will have a valid answer, so don’t worry about being wrong!

  4. Honestly, I’ve never read this poem before tonight; however, it looks to me as if the speaker is summer. Summer, being personified, tells the reader that the bees are apart of his/her existence. The butterfly flutters through the summer but disappears when the temperatures begin to drop.

    I’m not sure if the “pretty people” in the woods are supposed to represent any particular people. I think the key word in the third line is “woods” and what that represents during the hot, oppressive days of summer. I am truly thankful for the shade that my trees around my home offer when the “eye” of summer becomes almost unbearable. That is why the people in the woods are able to receive summer cordially.

    The brooks, possibly, laugh louder because they are most enjoyed during that time. Kids and adults alike enjoy playing and cooling in the waters of springs and brooks. Now why are the breezes madder? Also, just another guess, but in the summer when the “breezes” come, they often come as fierce storms. Lastly, the eye of summer is the sun. I’m sure you’ve had a cold glass of tea that mists in the heat of a summer’s day. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

  5. A joyous poem celebrating her oneness with nature. The various elements listed are as acquaintances and friends of hers. By the way, did you know that Emily Dickinson’s poems can be sung to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas”?

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