My Garden — like the Beach

Emily Dickinson

‘My Garden — like the Beach’ by Emily Dickinson is a beautiful, short poem. It compares the speaker’s garden to the beach and the summer to the sea. Read the full poem, with a complete analysis.

Emily Dickinson

Nationality: America

Emily Dickinson redefined American poetry with unique line breaks and unexpected rhymes.

Notable works include 'Because I could not stop for Death' and 'Hope is the Thing with Feathers.' 

Key Poem Information

Central Message: The summer season is very inspiring.

Themes: Beauty, Nature

Speaker: Someone who appreciates summer

Emotions Evoked: Contentment, Enjoyment

Poetic Form: Block Form, Cinquain

Time Period: 19th Century

Dickinson uses her skill with short lines and effective images well in this brief depiction of summer.

Throughout this piece, readers are exposed to Dickinson’s skillful and unforgettable use of imagery. It’s quite easy to read and appreciate the lines of ‘My Garden — like the Beach,’ but it’s much harder to forget them. Some believe that Dickinson is herself the speaker in these lines, and she considers her own reaction to the summer season while envisioning her garden. 

My Garden — like the Beach
Emily Dickinson

My Garden—like the Beach—Denotes there be—a Sea—That's Summer—Such as These—the PearlsShe fetches—such as Me
My Garden — like the Beach by Emily Dickinson


My Garden — like the Beach’ by Emily Dickinson is a simple short poem about the summer season.

The poet spends the first lines of this piece describing how her garden is like the beach. When one sees her flowers blooming, they know the summer has arrived. In the same way, when one sees the beach, they know that they’re also going to see the ocean. Once grasped, the simple beauty of this simile is easy to appreciate. But, the poet doesn’t stop there. Using personification, she adds that summer brings her outside and into her garden just like the sea brings forth pearls. The poem ends on this note, allowing the reader to contemplate the natural beauty of these spaces and Dickinson’s skill with imagery. 

Structure and Form 

My Garden — like the Beach’ by Emily Dickinson is a five-line poem that is contained within a single stanza of text. The lines rhyme ABCDB and do not conform to a specific metrical pattern. They range in length from three syllables to six. A poem of this length, in regard to line umber and length, is not unusual for Dickinson. But, most commonly, readers will find her poems written in ballad meter. This means that they usually rhyme ABCB and alternate between iambic trimeter and iambic tetrameter

Literary Devices 

Throughout My Garden — like the Beach,’ the poet makes use of several literary devices. For example: 

  • Caesura: can be seen when the poet inserts a pause into the middle of a line. For example, “Denotes there be — a Sea.” This is commonly seen through the use of Dickinson’s dashes. 
  • Enjambment: occurs when the poet cuts off a line before its natural stopping point. For example, the transition between lines four and five. 
  • Simile: can be seen when the writer creates a comparison between two things using “like” or “as.” For example, the first line in which the speaker compares her “Garden” to the “Beach.” She doesn’t say one is the other but that one is “like” or similar to the other. 
  • Imagery: occurs when the poet uses particularly interesting descriptions that appeal to the reader’s senses. For example, “These—the Pearls / She fetches” and “My Garden—like the Beach.” 

Detailed Analysis

Lines 1-2 

My Garden — like the Beach —

Denotes there be — a Sea —

In the first lines of ‘My Garden — like the Beach,’ the speaker begins with the line that later came to be used as the title. This is common practice with Dickinson’s poems, as they were often left unnamed. She begins by noting that the garden is hers. It, she adds immediately, is like the beach. 

This is an initially confusing comparison that is later explored in more detail in the following lines. But, to start, the reader is presented with a simile that should engage readers’ imaginations. The second line alludes to how one thing denotes another. Just as seeing a beach means there’s going to be a sea, so too does seeing the garden mean there’s something else. This is revealed in the third line. 

Lines 3-5 

That’s Summer —

Such as These — the Pearls

She fetches — such as Me

Line three completes the comparison between the beach and the sea and the garden and summer. The speaker is stating that when one sees the beach, they know that they are going to see the ocean. In the same way, when one sees her garden, they know they’re going to be experiencing summer. One is a symbol for the other. 

At the same time, there’s another comparison going on. In the following lines, she uses personification, referring to the summer as “She.” The summer fetches the poet just as the sea brings forth “Pearls.”


What is the purpose of ‘My Garden — like the Beach?’ 

The purpose is to celebrate summer, flowers, and how inspiring the season is. This is a fairly simple poem, especially as Dickinson’s poems go, and it allows the reader to appreciate the simple beauty of Dickinson’s imagery

Who is the speaker in My Garden — like the Beach?’ 

The speaker is likely meant to be the poet herself. She has, on more than one occasion, spent time writing about nature and specifically the influence of the seasons. It’s likely that she was thinking about her own garden when she wrote this poem. 

What is the tone of ‘My Garden — like the Beach?’

The tone is peaceful and joyful. The speaker is celebrating the summer season, nature, and beautiful sights to behold within her garden. 

What is the mood of ‘My Garden — like the Beach?’

The mood is peaceful and appreciative. Readers should walk away feeling at ease with the images they’ve been exposed to and appreciative of the simple joy of the summer season. 

What are the themes of ‘My Garden — like the Beach?’

Throughout this poem, Dickinson engages with themes like nature, peace, and summer. The speaker is quite direct in her comparisons, and it does not take much analytical effort to understand what imagery Dickinson was thinking about. 

Similar Poetry 

Readers who enjoyed ‘My Garden — like the Beach’ should also consider reading other Emily Dickinson poems. For example: 

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Emma Baldwin Poetry Expert
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues through analyzing poetry on Poem Analysis.
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