Study Guide

From Blank to Blank Stanza 2

By Emily Dickinson

Stanza 2

Lines 6-8

If end I gained

It ends beyond

Indefinite disclosed—


  • Looks like there's nothing in this stanza but more emptiness on the horizon—if there even is a horizon. 
  • Here, the speaker tells us that every time she thinks she's found the end of something, she sees another end further beyond.
  • We could connect this back with the labyrinth reference in line 2: every time she turns a corner in the maze of nothingness, she just sees more nothingness ahead. (Hold up—are there corners in nothingness? Ugh, our heads hurt.) She might trick herself into thinking that it's about to end, but she's inevitably disappointed. 
  • We also notice a bit of parallelism here. See how lines 6 and 7 are similar in structure, with the whole "If end" and "It ends" thing? Just like with the first line of the poem, we have an intentional repetition that gets across an idea of endless, empty monotony. 
  • Line 8 reminds us of line 5 because it also contains two words that are just sort of plunked down in the poem with no regard to any kind of standard syntax.
  • "Indefinite" (8) also slant rhymes with "indifferent" (1.5), which doubly connects the lines in our minds.
  • Again, we have a line that seems disconnected in the same way that the speaker feels toward the world. But what does line 8 mean, exactly?
  • Well, "indefinite" describes something that's vague or unclear, and "disclosed" means to reveal a secret. 
  • So, it could be that the line is describing the moments where she gets to what she thinks is an end in the nothingness, but then finds out that there's more nothingness to go. 
  • Or the line could be describing the general realization she's having throughout the entire poem.
  • If so, it's a pretty terrible realization. It's like the speaker is saying, "Eureka! Nothing matters. Nothing matters at all."
  • We should also mention that this chunk of the poem is full of assonance and consonance; check out "Sound Check" for the deets.

Lines 9-10

I shut my eyes—and groped as well

'Twas lighter—to be Blind— 

  • Now, the speaker tells us that things were a little brighter after she shut her eyes.
  • So what's that? A happy ending? Hardly—but maybe it is in the bleak world of this poem anyway.
  • Okay, so here's the question: why exactly were things brighter with closed eyes? This last line obviously is a bit of a contradiction
  • What gives? Is the nothingness surrounding the speaker just that super-dark? Does the speaker mean that looking at all that nothingness was just so freaky that closing her eyes was comforting?
  • And here's another question: just what is this image supposed to symbolize, anyway? We've got this awesome image of a person groping around in a void with her eyes closed, but what does it represent?
  • Could it be a struggle with depression? A desperate search for meaning in life? A statement about how we're all blind to the truth of the universe?
  • As with everything in this poem, it's open to interpretation. Whatever it is, though, it's probably not a good thing.
  • Before we say adieu to this analysis, take a look at how Dickinson breaks up both of these lines with a dash, again giving us some caesuras, or pauses.
  • This does a great job of getting across the stop-and-start pace of someone who's groping around in the dark. 
  • You could also look at the dashes here as blanks being inserted into the middle of the line. If the speaker can't escape her blank dimension, we aren't going to either. 
  • Having fun yet? Well, we hate to disappoint, but that's the end of the poem.

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