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
-Emily Dickinson, “1078”
One of the things that stands out most in Dickinson poetry is her use of hyphens. In most poems they are prominent, in this one that isn’t quite the case – although it does play a pivotal role.
This poem, an observation on the effects in a household after a death, has been a favorite of mine for some time. I first took note of it while setting up my social media group, remembering homicide victims (RHV). The subtle insight on the nature of death is undeniably true.
The word House has two meanings in this poem. One of the meanings ties to the physical house and getting ready to host the wake. The other meaning, reflected in the second stanza and separated by the hyphen, refers to dealing with the emotional loss of a loved one.
While Dickinson isn’t as morose as Edgar Allen Poe, their views on religion and their segmented writing styles are uniquely similar. Both writers have a distinct ability to take the reader inside the point of view of the person telling the story/writing the poem.