Emily Dickinson's Collected Poems

Some questions about poem #214 & #280

Please provide me with the answers asap :)

Poem #214 "I taste a liquor..."

1- The liquor that Dickinson tastes is not "brewed" [1] . Why not?

2- What does she mean bye "Inebriate of Air" [5] ?

3- How does the word "Landlords" [9] refer back to the previous stanza?

4- In stanza 3, Dickinson contrasts herself to the bees and butterflies. Can you explain how?

Poem #280 "I felt a Funeral..."

1- In stanza 2, what is the "service" [6] ?

2- What does "Then Space" [12] probably refer to?

3- In what way is the speaker "wrecked" [16] in stanza 4?

4- "And Being, but an Ear" [14]. What does Dickinson mean, in your opinion?

5- Dickinson says she "hit a World, at every plunge" [19]. Can you suggest what she may mean?

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1. The liquor is not 'brewed' because it is not a mixture of intoxicants: it is one element: life.

2. 'Inebriate of air' means that she is drunk on life, on breathing and living.

3. The reference suggests that the narrator continues to imbibe until directed by a higher power not to do so.

4.The bees and butterfiles collect nectar as their sustanance, however they are limited by the seasons - the narrator can gather her joy all year round.


1. The 'service' appears to the process of intervention/acknowledgement of those around the narrator that the event has happened. This may be interpreted as the intervention of others seeing her mental breakdown, and their formal responses to this.

2. 'Then Space' may be read as a release.

3. As there is an obvious separation of body and mind here, this would suggest 'wrecked'.

4. The narrator is condensed into one sensation, that of listening to the sounds around her.

5. This descent is a painful, fast and dramatic one, with every interaction with others feeling a physical assault.


'Emily Dickinson Selected Poems' - G Byron 'Selected Poems' - Emily Dickinson