Summary

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In this poem, Emily Dickinson equates wild nights of passion to being on the sea during a wild storm. In the first stanza, the narrator repeats the term "Wild Nights" three times. They speak directly to the beloved, saying that if they were together, wild nights would be a luxury. The term "Wild Nights" is a play on both passionate lovemaking and wild, stormy weather at sea.

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In the second stanza, the speaker says the winds don't matter to the lovers who are "in port": in other words, together. Once the two are together, they can throw away the compasses and charts. In other words, they can dispense with the rule book and do what they want.

In the final stanza, the narrator imagines rowing through a sea in "Eden," or paradise, to be with the beloved. The speaker longs to be "moored"—in other words, to reach the shore where the loved one is. The last two lines speak to a sexual longing for unity with the beloved.

The poem is filled with passion, as is indicated by the many exclamation points Dickinson uses. The speaker is separated from the beloved but passionately wants to be joined with that other person.

Dickinson's poem is also highly universal. We receive no specific details about the lover or the beloved: we don't know their genders, their situation, or any details about them. The poem is a generalized account that focuses on the passionate yearning to be joined with a beloved.

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Themes