Emily Dickinson's Poems of Death Wiki

My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun

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My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun –
In Corners – till a Day
The Owner passed – identified –
And carried Me away –

And now We roam in Sovereign Woods –
And now We hunt the Doe –
And every time I speak for Him -
The Mountains straight reply –

And do I smile, such cordial light
Open the Valley glow –
It is as a Vesuvian face
Had let it’s pleasure through

And when at Night – Our good Day done –
I guard My Master’s Head –
‘Tis better than the Eider Duck’s
Deep Pillow - to have shared –

To foe of His – I’m deadly foe –
None stir the second time –
On whom I lay a Yellow Eye –
Or an emphatic Thumb –

Though I than He – may longer live
He longer must – than I –
For I have but the power to kill,
Without – the power to die-


The whole poem is personifying a gun and it's issue over control.  The gist of the poem is saying the gun cannot have power unless a human is controlling it.  It's just a thing, it cannot die, and must rely on someone to give it it's powers.  Power struggle is the main theme of the poem.

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