One of the many reasons that Emily Dickinson's poetry is both thought-provoking and universally appealing is that she masterfully unites readers in a shared sense of humanity.
In "A Bird came down the Walk—," Dickinson immerses readers in the simple beauty of nature. In this poem, she stops to observe a bird sustaining himself with food (a worm) and drink (dew). His motions are eloquently captured, from the way he hops sideways to "let a Beetle pass" to the way his flight looks like "oars [that] divide the Ocean, / Too silver for a seam." To be human is to be part of incredible beauty in nature.
In "I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—," the speaker is dying when she notes the sound of a fly in her surroundings. The contrast between the solemn moment of a convergence of her loved ones in the room of her impending death and the almost absurd buzzing of a pesky fly in this scene shows how distractible humans can be in all situations. Dickinson shows that to be human is to sometimes focus on things of insignificance.
In "I felt a Funeral, in my Brain," the speaker narrates a feeling of losing her grip on sanity. She explains that her thoughts keep "beating—beating—till I thought / My mind was going numb—." To be human means to sometimes experience moments when reason fails us and when we are trapped with our own thoughts of solitude and feeling "wrecked."
In "A narrow Fellow in the Grass," the speaker explains his conflicting feelings about encountering snakes. He (as she assumes a male speaker's voice in this poem, a "Boy") speaks of the snake with wonder in the beginning of the poem:
The Grass divides as with a Comb,
A spotted Shaft is seen,
And then it closes at your Feet
And opens further on—
However, at the end, he notes that he always feels a bit chilled when encountering a snake and always faces "tighter Breathing." To be human, therefore, is to experience conflicting emotions about a single object from time to time.
In "'Hope' is the thing with feathers—," the speaker explains that her soul clings to hope and that it provides her a sweet song throughout life's toughest storms. She has felt it "in the chillest land—/ And on the strangest Sea." To be human, therefore, is to cling to hope in the most impossible of circumstances.
Combining approachable language and imagery
in her poetry further allows Dickinson to convey these universal truths which have proven timeless and to unite readers in a shared sense of the wide range of human experiences.