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Word Count: 357
Safe In Their Alabaster Chambers This poem one of Dickinsons best-known works contrasts the qualities of stillness with those of life In the first stanza she emphasizes the timelessness of death the meek members of the resurrection sleep in their coffins untouched by dawn or noon They are sealed in closed off from time and the world by the oppressive weight of rafter and roof The second stanza lists some of the joys of a summer day the breeze laughs the bees buzz the birds sing Their unknown wisdom is for nothing however since no one hears them In the third stanza the poet goes from the movement of natural things to the movements of time the years proceed in their orderly fashion planets make their own prescribed orbits and earthly kings rise and fall - but again the dead are unaware of all this activity Comment This poem is on one hand a statement on the awful unknowingness of death the complete removal of the dead from all activity the largest and the smallest The dead are safe in their alabaster chambers but they are also completely removed from everything that a human being considers interesting or valuable The poem can also be read as a statement on organized religion the meek members of the resurrection those who have been saved by religion are sealed from the world as effectively as if they were dead In this sense it is like many of Dickinsons poems very similar to Transcendentalist thought Churchgoers who worship under rafters and roof simply cut themselves off from the breezes and birds the natural creatures who have true sagacity or wisdom The two readings do not contradict each other however rather the poet seems to be saying that people who are blinded by a narrow religion suffer twice They cannot be aware of the realities of the
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