Study Guide

I measure every Grief I meet Death

By Emily Dickinson


Like many of Dickinson's poems, "I measure every Grief I meet" deals with death, and rather directly, to boot. But here's the thing. All that grief in the poem? It's not necessarily caused by death. Sure, Dickinson drops the ultimate end in there, but she also emphasizes that other griefs—the really long lasting ones, can come from other tragedies, like cold and despair.

Questions About Death

  1. Does the speaker seem afraid of death? If so, why? If not, why not?
  2. Does grief carry on in the afterlife, according to the speaker? How can you tell?
  3. Which seems more significant in this poem—the grief caused by death, or the grief caused by other troubles? What makes you say so?

Chew on This

By stating that death is "but one" reason why people feel sad, the poem minimizes death's importance as a cause of grief.

When the speaker "wonders" if others have thought of suicide, she is really hinting at her own suicidal thoughts.