Summary and Analysis of I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed by Emily Dickinson

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In, I taste liquor never brewed, Emily identifies the self with nature and speaks of the ecstasy thereof.  Unlike other Dickinson poems, this one describes a “state of mind” portrayed as a scene with random expressions. This is a tough poem to grasp, mainly because of the scattered use of phrases and vastly different interpretations!


I taste of liquor never brewed-

From Tankards scooped in pearl-

Not all the Vats upon the Rhine

Yield such an Alcohol.

Liquor refers to alcohol, Tankards- drinking vessels

In the first stanza, the poetess speaks of liquor that she has never tasted! It’s beyond man’s authority to brew this liquor (..Never brewed). Not even the vats on the river Rhine is comparable to the superiority of this wine. The poetess refers to the Nature’s wine, which may be the fresh air we breathe or the serene drops of rain! In short it’s nature’s beauty as a whole which the poetess urns to drink (experience). This wine imparts a spiritual revelation in the poet’s mind.

Inebriate of Air- am I

And Debauchee of Dew

Reeling- thro endless summer days –

From inns of Molten Blue –


 Inebriate –intoxicated, Molten blue refers to the spiritual liquor

The poetess is intoxicated and staggers as if she has drunk the summer air’s fragrance. The ‘intoxication’ experienced by the poet is referred to as “endless”. The molten blue actually provides a mix imagery of the liquid sky which in turn trickily refers to the effect of the spiritual intoxication under discussion in the poem. The spiritual liquor when consumed will make the poetess feel like getting dissolved into the sky, and thus, the verse, “liquid sky”.

When ‘Landlord’s turn the drunken Bee

Out of the Foxglove’s door-

When Butterflies- renounce their ‘drams’ –

I shall but drink the more!

A bartender may kick out an excessive drunker person, a bee to come out of a foxglove or butterfly already filled with nectar may stop accumulating more of it. But the poetess will go on enjoying nature’s abundance as a drunkard.

Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats –

And Saints- to windows run-

To see the Tippler

Leaning against the- Sun.

In the final stanza the poetess gets noticed by the Seraphs and the saints. Seraphs are angels of the highest rank!

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6 Comments
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