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Emily Dickinson's "There is another sky"

Emily Dickinson's poems remain a vital part of my poet worldview. They dramatize the human spirit via deep attention to life's details.

This daguerreotype is likely the only extant authentic image of the poet.

This daguerreotype is likely the only extant authentic image of the poet.

Introduction and Text of "There is another sky"

Emily Dickinson's "There is another sky" is an American (or Innovative) sonnet. The lines are short, only 3 to 5 metric feet, and with Dickinson's characteristic slant rime, the rime scheme is roughly, ABCBCDECFCGHIH. This innovative sonnet sections itself into two quatrains and a sestet, making it a gentle melding of the English and Italian sonnets.

(Please note: The spelling, "rhyme," was introduced into English by Dr. Samuel Johnson through an etymological error. For my explanation for using only the original form, please see "Rime vs Rhyme: An Unfortunate Error.")

There is another sky

There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;
Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields –
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;
Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum:
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come!

Reading of "There is another sky"

Commentary

This American (innovative) sonnet reveals an attitude dramatized in the Shakespeare sonnets: the poet's confidence in her creation of a world of beauty that will last forever.

First Quatrain: Physical Sky, Metaphysical Sky

There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;

In the first quatrain, the speaker claims that in addition to the sky of the physical universe, there is an additional sky in existence. But this other sky is "ever serene and fair." She then reports that there is also "another sunshine," which is capable of shining through darkness in this other place.

Second Quatrain: No Fading in the Metaphysical Universe

Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields -
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;

The speaker then directly addresses another person, telling him that he should ignore "faded forests," and she calls the addressee by name, "Austin," who happens to be the brother of the poet. She then tells Austin also to ignore the "silent fields."

The reason he should ignore those faded forests and silent fields is that in this place to which she is inviting Austin, the "little forest" contains leaves that are perpetually green. The speaker remains very mysterious about this place where the sky, sunshine, forest, fields, and leaves behave differently from the physical universe.

Sestet: Invitation to the Metaphysical Garden

Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum:
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come!

The speaker now claims that the place to which she refers is "a brighter garden," and this garden never experiences the killing effects of "frost." Its flowers remain "unfading" while she listens pleasurably to "the bright bee hum." The final couplet is the invitation to her brother to come into this wondrous garden: "Prithee, my brother, / Into my garden come!"

The Dickinson Riddle

This little American sonnet is one of Dickinson's many riddles. Her speaker never states explicitly that the garden is her poetry, but still, she is inviting her brother in to read her poems. Dickinson's speaker is implying throughout the sonnet that she has constructed a whole new world, where things can live untested by the molestations of the physical plane of life. The sky can remain "serene and fair."

And the sun can even shine through the darkness. Forests never die out, and the fields are always bursting with life; they never lie fallow as in the real world. And the trees enjoy wearing green leaves forever. She knows all this because she has created it.

And like the master writer of the Shakespeare sonnets, Dickinson's speaker knows that she has fashioned out of crude nature an art that will provide pleasure in perpetuity. That she has the courage to invite her beloved brother into her world demonstrates the confidence she has in her creations.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: What style of lyric poem is Emily Dickinson's "There is another sky?

Answer: Emily Dickinson's "There is another sky" is an innovative, or American, sonnet. The lines are short, only 3 to 5 metric feet, and with Dickinson's characteristic slant rime, the rime scheme is roughly, ABCBCDECFCGHIH. This innovative sonnet sections itself into two quatrains and a sestet, making it a gentle melding of the English and Italian sonnets.

Question: What are some sad and gloomy aspects of life mentioned in "There is another sky"?

Answer: According to the speaker in Dickinsons's "There is another sky," some of the negative aspects of life include darkness, faded forests, silent fields, green leaves turning brown, frost, and fading flowers.

Question: What is the theme of Emily Dickinson's poem "There is another sky"?

Answer: The theme of Dickinson's "There is another sky" is poetry creation.

Question: What is the theme of Emily Dickinson's "There is another sky"?

Answer: The focus of the theme is the poet's confidence in her creation of a world of beauty that will last forever.

Question: If the “little forest” and “brighter garden“ refer to home, what do you think the “Green leaf,” “Unfading flower,” and “bright bee” refer in the poem?

Answer: "Little forest” and “brighter garden“ are metaphors for her metaphysical garden of poetry; therefore, the “leaf" that "is ever green,” “unfading flower,” and “bright bee” refer metaphorically to her poems.

Question: What kind of sky does the speaker mention in the first two lines of Emily Dickinson's "There is another sky"?

Answer: A sky that remains calm and bright.

Question: What kind of sky does

Emily Dickinson's mention in the poem "There is another sky" in the first two lines?

Answer: The first two lines describe a sky that is always calm and cloudless.

Question: Can you give a summary of Dickinson's "There is another sky"?

Answer: Dickinson's speaker is implying throughout the sonnet that she has constructed a whole new world, where things can live untested by the molestations of the physical plane of life. The sky can remain "serene and fair." And the sun can even shine through the darkness. Forests never die out, and the fields are always bursting with life; they never lie fallow as in the real world. And the trees enjoy wearing green leaves forever. She knows all this because she has created it.

Question: What is this poem about?

Answer: This American (innovative) sonnet reveals an attitude dramatized in the Shakespeare sonnets: the poet's confidence in her creation of a world of beauty that will last forever.

Question: What is "inversion" as a figure of speech?

Answer: As a literary device or figure of speech, inversion reverses the ordinary word order in a sentence, such as subjects, verbs, and objects. The only "inversion" in Dickinson's "The is another sky" is "Into my garden come!" She likely did this to effect the rime with "hum" two lines prior.

(Please note: The spelling, "rhyme," was introduced into English by Dr. Samuel Johnson through an etymological error. For my explanation for using only the original form, please see "Rime vs Rhyme: An Unfortunate Error at https://owlcation.com/humanities/Rhyme-vs-Rime-An-... .”)

Question: Does Dickinson's poem, "There is another sky," allude to "The Sower" by Victor Hugo?

Answer: Emily Dickinson's "There is another sky" contains no allusions to Victor Hugo's "The Sower."

Question: What influence or impact does Emily Dickinson's "There Is Another Sky" poem deliver?

Answer: A possible impact of Dickinson's "There is another sky" is that the reader may come to realize the nature of alternate modes of thinking; however, the exact "influence or impact" of any poem is highly personal and individualized.

Question: What is the other sky?

Answer: Dickinson's sonnet reveals an attitude dramatized in the Shakespeare sonnets: the poet's confidence in her creation of a world of beauty that will last forever. The other metaphorical, metaphysical sky represents that created world.

© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes

Comments

Linda Sue Grimes (author) from U.S.A. on February 27, 2018:

Alex,

My commentaries are not influenced by any of the "critical theories" that you listed. They are based on my personal interpretation with a bit of influence from New Criticism: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossary-te...

Hope this helps.

Blessings,

Linda Sue Grimes

(Maya Shedd Temple)

Alex on February 27, 2018:

i would like to know what critial theory goes with this. (Ex: Feminisim, marxism, archetypal, and new historicism) And if so can you explain why

Linda Sue Grimes (author) from U.S.A. on February 26, 2018:

"Faded forests," "darkness," "silent fields," "fading flowers"—all appear on the physical, material level of being—in other words, in the real world.

The speaker is creating a metaphysical, or alternative world, in which forests do not fade, no darkness exists, fields do not lie fallow, and flowers do not fade. She is creating this world with her poetry.

The speaker is inviting her dear brother into this world she is creating with her poetry—which is the other world that has "another sky." She refers to her created poetry world as her "garden."

Hope this helps, Maylene! Thanks for asking.

Maylene on February 26, 2018:

What do faded forest stand for?

Linda Sue Grimes (author) from U.S.A. on May 07, 2016:

Well, I'm so glad, Harish! I guess my efforts are not in vain.

Harish Mamgain from New Delhi , India on May 07, 2016:

Hello Linda, ' there is another sky ' is a lovely poem. I enjoyed the poem more after reading your fine commentary. Thank you.

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