A Simple Poem by Emily Dickinson

Essential Oils — are wrung

emily_dickenson colorful.jpg

Essential Oils — are wrung –

The Attar from the Rose

Be not expressed by Suns — alone –

It is the gift of Screws –

The general Rose — decay –

But this — in Lady ‘s Drawer

Make Summer — When the Lady lie

In Ceaseless Rosemary –


This poem represents Nature, Culture and Language.

Reading : Kramsch, C.J (1998) Language and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press


Here are some analysis of this poem by  the FRG groups :

Group 1 (Ayu, Resti & Richard)

In the poem of Emily Dickinson about Roses, the use of “General Rose” which represents Nature, “The Lady” as Language, and “The Attar” or fragrance of the Roses as Culture. This poem put language and culture to weird relationship where they can both influence each other in so many ways. Naturally, rose is just one of beautiful flowers which can be wilted anytime. Unfortunately, the natural characteristic of a flower makes it only beautiful when we see it directly. On the flip side, culture and language can do things nature cannot. Time has no effect on both culture and language. Culture brings Rose to so many ears through language. It makes people imagine how beautiful Rose is. Every time someone mention Rose, the definition of Rose develop in society will lead them to define it by the culture they kept and language they heard. Roses may be only a kind of flower but culturally, Rose is a sign of true love and sometimes can also be a sign of a Lady. The Lady and the Rose is not immortal, the Lady can die and the Rose can “decay”, but the Rose can be immortal when the perfume maker change the rose petal into high cost perfume. From the perfume, the Lady can use it, and the fragrance of the rose made her

immortal. We can conclude that, “Culture is never died, when Language make it immortals”. We can know about the culture of one community because of language. There is the “screw” as socialization or acculturation to be a “gift” of the culture to know about the community. Language and culture need each other by supporting each of their existences in society.

 Facilitator’s comment: Language can make culture immortal, a very brilliant opinion to see that how language is very powerful to shape community by preserving its culture.

Group 2 (Mima & Noora)

This poem is quite difficult to be understood without the explanation but after read the explanation, we can get that the rose is the symbol for nature, the lady for culture and the Attar is the language. Simply, this poem implied that nature, culture and language need each other and to maintain the nature and the culture, language is needed. Just like the metaphor, when the lady dies,

the fragrance will make the people remind her as the culture could die but the language will bring it alive but the fragrance will not exist if there is no rose.

Facilitator’s comment: I agree this poem is a bit challenging to comprehend, yet you have a good start by giving comments. It’s not just simply understanding that lady is for culture and the attar as language. consider how attar has gone through the process of extracting. is this process can be defined as culture? and how language is responsible to execute this process? Have some thoughts!

Group 3 (Christ, Dilla & Dewi)

About the metaphor of the rose regarding to culture and language is as we mentioned earlier that they need each other to exist. The rose in the metaphor was born by nature, and preserved by culture or the habit of giving roses to people they love, but without language that utters the meaning behind it, the rose itself will never have a meaning. So in simple way, we can conclude that the rose as the nature is just like as human. Human can pass away but the culture will live from one generation to another through language just like the essence of rose that live even after the rose no longer exist.

Facilitator’s comment: Yes, language is needed to communicate the meaning within the culture, otherwise the rose is meaningless. Good highlight!

Group 4 (Eugenie & Bella)

It is a little bit confused try to understand the meaning of Dickinson’s poem. But one thing that interested is how we can reflect the poem to conclude about culture and language itself. From the poem by Emily Dickinson about the metaphor of roses I found that that between Culture and Language is related each other, both of them cannot be separated. Why it cannot be separated? Quoting a lyric from the poem “The Attar from the Rose” it is a metaphor Language and Culture which is Attar is analogy as Language and Rose is analogy as the culture. As we know that Attar is an essential oil which drips from Rose, in this case it is same with Language which can present and exit until now because of culture.

Culture has been grown because the habit of human and the language is presence among them because people need to communicate so they can interact. Language also can be a sign of people in one culture. For example, we can notice the differences of the speakers through the way they speak using their language. The differences can we feel through the differences of the tone, accent, vocal, event how they express from their conversational style. Where there is a culture, there is a language. Surely, it cannot be avoided both of them is related and cannot be separated.

Facilitator’s comment:  This poem is not easy to understand, agree! Now think about how rose can decay,  whose characteristic of this ? Nature, culture or language? then when Roses can become essence, it will get through labor and finally can be immortal, what kind of process is this? natural or cultural process? try to consider it!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s