Study Guide

From Blank to Blank Time

By Emily Dickinson

Time

From Blank to Blank— 
(1)

All this "Blank to Blank" business gives us a palpable sense that there's no time in this place. If everything's empty, how can time pass? Of course, we could also look at these "Blanks" as metaphors for units of time that are passing. What if they represent hours, days, or years that feel empty because there's nothing meaningful to fill them?

To stop—or perish—or advance—

Alike indifferent— 

(4-5)

Time feels so undefined for the speaker that it doesn't matter what she does. If time doesn't exist, then there are no repercussions for any of our actions. We can stand still, walk, or sit down and die. When there's no moment that follows after, then maybe it doesn't matter what this moment is. Then again, maybe it matters even more, if it's all there will ever be. Okay, this is all officially starting to sound a bit like dorm room philosophy.

Indefinite disclosed— 
(8)

Here again, we get the sense of a big, timeless mush. Everything is "indefinite," so the speaker feels like the hours, days, and years all run together. What's the disclosed part about, though? Maybe it's referring to that exact moment in which you feel like all the moments are running together. Talk about overwhelming.

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