Study Guide

The Lightning is a yellow Fork What's Up With the Title?

By Emily Dickinson

What's Up With the Title?

Like all Dickinson poems (which only received titles from editors, not from the poet herself), we refer to this poem by its catchy first line. "The Lightning is a yellow Fork" comes right out and gives the spotlight to the big metaphor of the poem. At the same time, it doesn't even hint at the big ways this metaphor will change over the course of the poem. And that's why the title is a little misleading. The poem begins with a kind of fake simplicity, with the visual comparison of the lightning to a fork. Then it immediately explodes this simple image into a whole "Apparatus" of confusing and complex observations.