Can we grow ‘accustomed to the dark’? – Emily Dickinson & facing your fears

ImageA poem today, from the wonderful Emily Dickinson, who wrote so eloquently about despair, depression and sorrow, but also, in this poem, hope and facing your fears, meeting challenges and finding a way through.

It is about ‘groping’ for a way out of that ‘darkness of the brain’, and although those brave enough might hit their forehead on a metaphorical tree, with time the darkness, or our perception of it, can shift and ‘life steps almost straight’.

We would love your thoughts on this poem. Can you find other things to reflect on? Does it mean something quite different to you?

We grow accustomed to the Dark by Emily Dickinson (1830 to 1886)

We grow accustomed to the Dark —
When light is put away —
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye —

A Moment — We uncertain step
For newness of the night —
Then — fit our Vision to the Dark —
And meet the Road — erect —

And so of larger — Darkness —
Those Evenings of the Brain —
When not a Moon disclose a sign —
Or Star — come out — within —

The Bravest — grope a little —
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead —
But as they learn to see —

Either the Darkness alters —
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight —
And Life steps almost straight.

Do get in touch with your views, and thoughts on any other poets and poems that offer inspiration and support in dark times.

5 thoughts on “Can we grow ‘accustomed to the dark’? – Emily Dickinson & facing your fears”

  1. Viv says:

    Poetry is often the only way of communicating this sort of experience, both from the point of view of expressing it, and also of having any chance of it being understood:

    1. Thanks for commenting Viv. Yes, you are right. Sometimes only the most concentrated and intense language can convey the depth of such thoughts.

  2. Thank you for getting my brain out of the old grooves for this poem. I made a recording of it and did a little bit of a close reading:

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