Theres a certain slant of light

There's a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons –
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes –

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are –

None may teach it – Any –
'Tis the Seal Despair –
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air –

When it comes, the Landscape listens –
Shadows – hold their breath –
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death –



1) I think it is talking about how theres a light in the winter that comes only in the afternoon. The light sticks in peoples mind and they never forget it.
2) I think these lines a about how it affects out soul and feelings instead of out outside presence. It's touch on people is more important then a bump or bruis on our body. It gets in our thoughts and feelings. It makes us focus on it and we'll always remember it. It touches us in ways other things can't. It is undescribable. Other people feel it, but not the way our own self does.
3)In these lines I believe it's saying the light and it's affect is unteachable. It's something you learn personally and on your own, through experience. Also when it is night the light goes away and all there is is air.
4) When day comes and the light returns, everything awakens. Nature embrasses it. It covers everything. All the shadows and darkness leave. When night returnsand the light goes away, nature is back to how it was, dull and motionless. It's almost like everything is dead.

- bkr bkr Feb 14, 2008


Stanza 1)I think that the light is shining so bright that it is unexplainable by words as it shines on the winter clear sky, maybe it snowed and was making sparkes as far as the eye can see.
2) Heavenly hurt is like a pain on the inside that leaves no scar. How can anything leave a scar on the inside unless it is emotionally.
3) The light is like faith, it cannot be taught only found on the inside. Inorder to reach it you must look deep inside yourself and if you are confident it will put you in the air.
4)The light scares away all even in the world.
- NDi NDi Feb 15, 2008


This was my take on the poem......
  1. In the first stanza the message that I got out of it was: the look of winter stays on people's minds.
  2. In the second stanza the message that I got out of it was: it affects the emotions of poeple not the outside of them
  3. In the third stanza the message that I got out of it was: the feeling is an undiscribable feeling
  4. In the fourth and final stanza the message that I got out of it was: when the light comes nature embraces it, when it leaves it seems that everything dies.
To me the main comparision seems to be between light and life. I get that message mostly from the last stanza.
- kdi2 kdi2 Feb 17, 2008


We all have different opinions and views on what authors are trying to say to us readers in their poems. But, in my opinion I think in this poem she is trying to get winter’s message across. Winter has a certain sound, taste, and smell that are unlike any other season. She explains how she sees and feels a certain light that can only be recognized in winter. Also, she states that the light of winter afternoons impacts our minds. And the feeling we get when we hear the bells of the Lord and his presence. I think Emily feels that winter gets the greatest amount of attention. Winter speaks to the trees, grass and the people who surround it.
I think that Emily Dickinson wrote this poem for a reason unknown to us readers. Most poets I know do not write about winter and its effect on the world. She has an everlasting passion and desire for the season and wants to bring attention to all winters wonders. Maybe, in her opinion winter is more than just a season; it’s the beginning of a fresh start.
- ssa2 ssa2 Feb 21, 2008

I think that this poem describes about winter and how it makes her feel. Winter's are usually dark and gloomy but sometimes on a sunny day, there is always one time when you knwo it will be sunny at that point just because that is when the light shows at the end of the tunnel. The light gives you hope, winter will be over and the troubles and sorrows will be as well. When that light shines through in our life, she says that we need to hold onto it and grasp it and never let it go until we are ready to. I agree with ssa when she says that Dickinson believes that winter is a fresh start except i beleive that in the poem, winter is the end of things instead of a fresh start. I think that at the end of winter, the beginning really comes out.- ape2 ape2 Feb 21, 2008ape2

We all have different opinions and views on what authors are trying to say to us readers in their poems. But, in my opinion I think in this poem she is trying to get winter’s message across. Winter has a certain sound, taste, and smell that are unlike any other season. She explains how she sees and feels a certain light that can only be recognized in winter. Also, she states that the light of winter afternoons impacts our minds. And the feeling we get when we hear the bells of the Lord and his presence. I think Emily feels that winter gets the greatest amount of attention. Winter speaks to the trees, grass and the people who surround it.
I think that Emily Dickinson wrote this poem for a reason unknown to us readers. Most poets I know do not write about winter and its effect on the world. She has an everlasting passion and desire for the season and wants to bring attention to all winters wonders. Maybe, in her opinion winter is more than just a season; it’s the beginning of a fresh start.
- ssa2 ssa2 Feb 23, 2008

I liked this poem, I really liked how it had something to do with nature. The first stanza is my favorite part of the poem...

There's a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons –
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes –

To me this stanza was talking about how weather can effect someones mood. For example if it is rainy and foggy I wouldn't want to do anything that day. But if it was warm and sunny outside I would be more in the mood to wake up and do a lot of fun things and I would probably wouldn't even mind doing my homework. The second part of the stanza is talking about how even the nice sounds from the cathedral wouldn't make someone happy.
In the second and third stanzas it is talking about how you cant find a scar, because this feeling and pain is on the inside. It isn't something that someone can see. Sometimes an internal pain can be even worse than an external one. It also talks about how this feeling isnt something you can teach, it is just there.
The last stanza was kind of tricky. I think it was talking about how light helps things. Like sunlight helps plants and flowers grow, which makes people happy. But in the winter when it is dark, their isn't a lot of leaves on trees and no flowers. I think this poem could be about season and how in winter everything dies but they are born again the the spring when the light comes.
- hla hla Feb 24, 2008

I don’t remember going over this poem in class. If I were to break down the meaning of each stanza I would look like this;
1. The slant of light is the sun, the light of the world, that makes us happy/inspired
2. We cannot find where the light/sun comes from or maybe more of the question why is it there or how did it get there.
3. We are inspired to learn about it, but no one can tell us that much about it, or at least answer the question why is it there or where it is from
4. When the sun rises it transforms the landscape/nature and its life/its beauty is more powerful then death.
This is an interesting poem, I never really tried to break one down by myself but it helped. I think I did good to and got pretty close in comparison to others. This poem though was rather interesting and I didn’t get it really just reading it but when I broke it down into stanzas it helped a great deal.
- BST BST Feb 25, 2008


This is how I see this poem.
1. The light is making some one happy, and is suppressing the darkness and unhappyness
2. The light can make us not only feel good but can make us feel bad at the same time.
3. We can not go searching for the light, but we have to let it come to us.
4. The light can get rid of the darkness but only temporarily, when it leaves the darkness is back just as strong as it was before.
This is what I think the poem means.
- dte dte Feb 25, 2008

In this poem I think Dickinson was trying to desrcibe going to church or connecting with God on a spiritual level. Light was used a numerous amount of times throughout the poem, which might've symbolized a very religious meaning. Light is something so much better than the dark, becuase in termsof happiness and glee, light would be something people would prefer. God is pictured as an idol up above perhaps in the sky in this place known as heaven It is said that it's a place where there'd be light, and I think Dickinson might've been trying to point that out in this poem. I think she was also trying to say that if there's not enough light or if it's a faint amount, that it might change the mood or tone in a depressing manner. - aow1 aow1 Feb 26, 2008

I think that this poem describes what winter is like and her emotional reaction toward it. Winter is usually a time where it is darker out and they just drag on and on, but there are those silm but great sunny days which remind you the summertime. And when there is thoses days of light we need to take advantage of it and grasp it. It is like a new start, a clean slate, thats what it reminded me of a brand new day. The sad days will be over and the troubles and hard times will end too. She says that when the light comes to us we need to hold on to it tight and never let it go until it is our time to go. I think that Dickson believes that winter is a white new clean slate a time of repenting is over and ready to start new. - Jsp2 Jsp2 Feb 27, 2008

I both liked and disliked this poem. I liked this poem because of the way it's written. I too, do not like the winter, so I understand when she writes about how the winter can make a person feel gloomy. But I dislike this poem for many reasons. I don't think that the winter can make her feel like dying. Emily writes about how the certain slant of light puts her into a kind of depression, and makes her feel emotionally hurt. The certain slant of light that she sees through the window gives her a sense of a heavy internal feeling that she believes death will feel like. Also, when I read this poem it made me think that winter itself wasn't the reason she felt depressed but maybe something about the winter reminds her of a sad time in her life. What I think is that maybe there was a death in her family, that happened during the winter, that every winter reminds her of the sad time that once happened during the winter. I think that every winter made her fell the pain of losing a loved one, and that wintertime makes her feel like dying herself, to escape the pain she feels.
- bkr bkr Mar 4, 2008

This poem in general, without depicting it, seems to kind of blend with all of her other poems. She is always writing about death, and winter. Emily has a tendency of writing with a gloomy attitude or mood. And thats exactly what this poem is just a very gloomy solemn type of poem. Although once I started to actually read into this poem my first thought was how during winter time there are always those days that even though you may have a foot of snow on the ground the sun is shining as bright as if it were the middle of the summer. Also I thought of how that is such a weird feeling like complete opposites are occuring at the same time. As I continued to read I got the feeling that she was going back to the topic of death as most of her poems do. The message I was getting was that death is kind of a mysterious type thing that we can't comprehend and maybe even shouldn't. "We can find no scar, but internal difference." This line says that its like an invisible thing like we can't find a scar which is visible. But internal difference which is something that we can't see, meaning that it doesn't want to be know almost. The next stanza is saying that you can't describe it to another person its one of those things that you have to experience or go through on your own. The rest of the poem seems to say that the light is a scary thing like when it comes out everyone else hides.
- VRo VRo Mar 4, 2008