Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Emily's Poem

The following is without question, among my favorite poems by Dickinson, or any poet for that matter. It has a beautiful pace. It is maddeningly symbolic, sexual, with all the images of her own diminution up against the the boundless, dangerous sea and the safety of solidity and domesticity. I once wrote a pretty good paper about it in the only graduate course I ever took in college. My professor strongly urged me to submit it for the Dept Awards. Naturally, i declined.

"The shore is safer...but I love to buffet the sea."
Emily Dickinson, in a letter

I started Early
- Took my Dog -
And visited the Sea -
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me -

And Frigates - in the Upper Floor
Extended Hempen Hands -
Presuming Me to be a Mouse -
Aground - upon the Sands -

But no Man moved Me - till the Tide
Went past my simple Shoe -
And past my Apron - and my Belt
And past my Bodice - too -

And made as He would eat me up -
As wholly as a Dew
Upon a Dandelion's Sleeve -
And then - I started - too -

And He - He followed - close behind -
I felt His Silver Heel
Upon my Ankle - Then my Shoes
Would overflow with Pearl -

Until We met the Solid Town -
No One He seemed to know
And bowing - with a Mighty look -
At me - The Sea withdrew -

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