Now I knew I Lost Her Poem by Emily Dickinson Summary, Notes and Line by Line Explanation in English for Students


Now I knew I Lost Her is a poem by the American poet Emily Dickinson. The poem appeared in several anthologies that were published posthumously after Dickinson’s death. One of the collections was The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition edited by Ralph W. Franklin and published in 1998. The poem explores the emotional distance and alienation in a relationship, with the speaker realizing the loss of someone not physically but through a transformative shift in emotional dynamics

About the Author 

Born on the 10th December 1830, in Massachusetts, Emily Dickinson is an American poet and is considered to be one of the most important and influential figures in American literature. Dickinson’s poetry is characterised by its unconventional use of punctuation, capitalisation, and form. Her work often explores themes such as death, nature, love, and the human experience. Her language is rich with metaphor, symbolism, and vivid imagery, and her concise and enigmatic verses continue to captivate readers with their depth and complexity. Some of her famous poems are  I taste a liquor never brewed, I felt a Funeral, in my Brain, I’m Nobody! Who are you?, ‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers, and A Bird, came down the Walk. Her contribution to American literature has grown in recognition over time, solidifying her legacy as a poetic pioneer. 


The poem is comprised of three stanzas, each containing four lines except for the last stanza, which has eight short lines. The poem uses Enjambment. 

Lines 1- 4

Now I knew I lost her —

Not that she was gone —

But Remoteness travelled

On her Face and Tongue.


The poem begins by the speaker solemnly commenting that they have had the realisation of losing “her”, who might be their beloved or a someone close. We are not sure if the person the speaker is referring to has passed away or if theyve left the speaker, but the speaker tells that she is gone now. The speaker next says that on the face of their beloved, “Remoteness travelled”. 


The speaker describes the true pain of losing someone, whether it is physically and/or emotionally. These lines definitely hint towards a sent of emotional distance or alination that has inhabited the space between the speaker and the woman. It is also important to note that now, the speaker’s beloved inhabits the feeling of remoteness on her face and tongue towards the speaker. This might been that she feels distant from the speaker and it shows both in her expressions and her words. 

Lines 5-8

Alien, though adjoining

As a Foreign Race —

Traversed she though pausing

Latitudeless Place.


The speaker goes on to strengthen the image of alienation that seemed to have developed between them and the woman. Despite being physically close or adjacent to the woman, the speaker feels alien or foreign towards them. Next, the emotional gap between the two of them is likened to the separation or distance one might feel from a different race or culture. The speaker next comments that there exists a “Latitudeless Place” in between them, which might refer to an indeterminate emotional distance. According to the speaker, the woman has traversed this distance before but she pauses now, as if hesitant to be close to the speaker. 


The poet has made use of multiple images in order to signify the space that has grown between the speaker and the woman. Even though both of them might be close to each other physically, they are far apart emotionally. There is an alien feeling that they both share yet it exists with the emotion of knowing the other person. Even though the speaker thinks of the woman as a “foreign race”, they still share their humanity, like they shared a past. 

Lines 9-12

Elements Unaltered —

Universe the same

But Love's transmigration —

Somehow this had come —


The speaker goes on to comment on how the ekemets in the outer world have remain unaltered. The universe, according to the speaker, is still the same. But the speaker claims that the love they shared with the woman has now transmigrated. And somehow, they both have grown apart from each other. 


The poet has referred to a lot of metaphysical aspects of space. Here, the mention of  “Elements” and “Universe” signify the unalterable state of being of the outer world yet a complete change in the inner world of the speaker. The use of the word “transmigration” is done to indicate as if the relationsup the speaker shared with that woman was a real, breathing person, and now it has died and thus, its soul has left. 

Lines 13-20

Henceforth to remember

Nature took the Day

I had paid so much for —

His is Penury

Not who toils for Freedom

Or for Family

But the Restitution

Of Idolatry.


The speaker remarks that from this point onwards, they shall remember and reflect on the past. They comment that “Nature took the Day”.  The speaker claims that they had paid a lot, or had made a lot of emotional investments into the relationship. But now they are met with penury, or poverty. The speaker ends the poem with a sad note. They say that true Penury is not the fate of a person who toils for freedom or family but someone who returns to a station of extreme devotion.


The phrase “Nature took the Day” might signify that the break in the relationship of the speaker and the woman happened as a part of a natural course of events. As the speaker reflects back on their relationship, they realise that they had invested a lot in that relationship. And they have been tough a lesson. The word “restitution” suggests a reclaiming or restoration, possibly indicating a return to a state of excessive and unwarranted worship. This could imply that the speaker, in recognizing the emotional distance and change in the relationship, feels a need to restore a level of devotion that might be disproportionate or unhealthy.