I had no time to Hate —

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I had no time to Hate —

by Emily Dickinson

I had no time to Hate —
The Grave would hinder Me —
And Life was not so
Ample I
Could finish — Enmity —

Nor had I time to Love —
But since
Some Industry must be —
The little Toil of Love —
I thought
Be large enough for Me —


This 12 line poem by Emily Dickinson is divided into a pair of six line stanzas with a rhyme scheme of ABCDEC for each stanza. Dickinson is well known for her unique and unorthodox grammatical style and this poem is no exception. She was fond of dashes and words capitalized seemingly at random.

(If you do a simple search for this poem online, you will find many places choose to transcribe this poem into a pair of four line stanzas while omitting her grammatical flourishes.)

The message of the two simple stanzas is a profound truth despite the brevity and simplicity of Dickinson’s delivery. The Speaker tells us in the first stanza that she does not have time for hate – as that would take up her entire life and it would remain an incomplete work. She also says that life is otherwise to full to choose such an end for herself.

In the second stanza, though, she says that while she also has no time for love, it requires little work, so she is able to give her efforts to it without being overburdened.

2 thoughts on “I had no time to Hate —

  1. Thank you Dusty. More years than I can remember, teachers (and the like) have worked to have me appreciate “poets” with limited success. Some exposures I have suffered scar me to this day, not for their difficulty but for their sappy nonsense. Not that I go for the he-man, the wild and wooly, I can take the reflective, even a touch of emotional pap now and again. Some on the other hand make me want to say things not fit for public release. You do good work. Some poets, in my opinion, never did any “good” work. Thanks for this reminder.