The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson Questions and Answers
by Emily Dickinson

Start Your Free Trial

What is the theme of Emily Dickinson's Poem "There is another sky?"

Expert Answers info

Jay Gilbert, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Lecturer

bookB.A. from University of Oxford

bookM.A. from University of Oxford

bookPh.D. from University of Leicester


calendarEducator since 2017

write2,274 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

The above answer discusses the contextual factors surrounding this poem, and its likely connection to the physical place that was Amherst at the time of writing. Divorced from this biographical interpretation, however, it seems clear that the poem can be interpreted as a description of heaven, or some other unearthly place in which the "garden" is safe from the natural disturbances that would otherwise plague it, such as "frost" and "darkness." The idea of heaven, or God's kingdom, as "another country" is a relatively common one; Dickinson here uses imagery suggestive of the Garden of Eden as she describes the sky where is it always "fair" and there is always "sunshine," regardless of the darkness that may exist on earth ("there"—where the addressee, Austin, is.) The place described in the poem is one where leaves are always green, and the flowers "unfading." The invitation to "into my garden come," then, may represent an invitation to the recipient to join the speaker in her faith that such a place exists, beyond the boundaries of frosty, faded, earthly reality. 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Jason Lulos eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write3,306 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Science

Emily Dickinson wrote "There is another sky" in conjunction with a letter she sent to her brother, Austin. In the poem, she tries to convince Austin to return from Boston to Amherst. In this context, the poem is about place. Although Amherst is a place in the world, and therefore subject to change, Dickinson compares it to a heavenly place, one where things always remain the same. This is the idea that your home, or home town, might change but it will always be "home." Since that designation of "home" never changes, the place, in a sense, never changes. This is why she uses phrases such as "whose leaf is ever green" and "unfading flowers." 

There is a bit of ambiguity. Is Dickinson talking about heaven, Amherst, both, or something else. The last line is "Into my garden come!" This could easily be taken as a sexual (and therefore, incestuous) invitation (to her brother, Austin). However, given that the poem has hymn-like qualities, it seems more likely that this poem is about the nostalgic lure of Amherst ("home") and the everlasting promise of heaven. 

This conflation of worldly place and heaven has evidence in the poem. The first line is "There is another sky." The fact that "there" is used indicates an otherworldly place: something not "here." Later, in the poem, the speaker claims "Here is a brighter green." The "here" indicates a worldly place. The combination of "here" and "there" could imply a connection between the world and heaven. This theme is about the sense, or perception, of such places. 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial