Wild Nights—Wild Nights!

by Emily Dickinson

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 199

Emily Dickinson’s "Wild Nights—Wild Nights!" is a three-stanza, relatively brief poem, like much of her work. The first line of the poem is also the title: “Wild nights—Wild nights!” The next line, “Were I with thee,” has been the subject of much debate since the poem’s publication. Who is the “thee” that she references? It appears, on the surface at least, to be directed toward a lover, though there are other interpretations of her word choice. Her good friend Thomas Higginson, who was also partly in charge of the publication of Dickinson’s poetry after her death, believed that the poem was religious in nature, and therefore the “thee” would mean God. Still others believe that “thee” references death, as Dickinson contemplated death in her work, and had previously referred to it as "wild nights".

The next stanza contains, “Futile - the winds -/To a Heart in port -” which indicates that nothing could dissuade her from her lover/God/death. And the third stanza: ”Rowing in Eden -/Ah - the Sea!/Might I but moor - tonight -/In thee!” shows that Dickinson would find refuge in the subject of the poem.

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