PoeticaL
cluttering the net since 2001

I'm sorry Emily

Sunday, May. 05, 2002
I always said I didn’t want to be like Emily Dickinson…then….I read this…

Then something sad happened. Emily fell in love with the wrong man. Charles Wadsworth already had a wife; he could only be Emily's friend. That was hard for her, but it helped to give Emily the skills to write poetry. One poem, "I'm nobody, who are you?" is probably her most famous poem.

She fell in love with the wrong man?...Then I went and read some of her poetry and I cried with the ghost of Emily... Now I understand that what I didn't want to be like...I already am.


Part One: Life
XXVII


I’M nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there ’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They ’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

Part Four: Time and Eternity
XCVII


EACH that we lose takes part of us;
A crescent still abides,
Which like the moon, some turbid night,
Is summoned by the tides.

Part One: Life
XXXI


I FOUND the phrase to every thought
I ever had, but one;
And that defies me,—as a hand
Did try to chalk the sun
To races nurtured in the dark;—
How would your own begin?
Can blaze be done in cochineal,
Or noon in mazarin?

Part Three: Love
XLII


TO lose thee, sweeter than to gain
All other hearts I knew.
’T is true the drought is destitute,
But then I had the dew!

The Caspian has its realms of sand,
Its other realm of sea;
Without the sterile perquisite
No Caspian could be.

Part One: Life
XCVIII


WHILE I was fearing it, it came,
But came with less of fear,
Because that fearing it so long
Had almost made it dear.
There is a fitting a dismay,
A fitting a despair.
’T is harder knowing it is due,
Than knowing it is here.
The trying on the utmost,
The morning it is new,
Is terribler than wearing it
A whole existence through

Part One: Life
CXXXIII


YOU cannot put a fire out;
A thing that can ignite
Can go, itself, without a fan
Upon the slowest night.

You cannot fold a flood
And put it in a drawer,—
Because the winds would find it out,
And tell your cedar floor.

Part One: Life
VII


WITHIN my reach!
I could have touched!
I might have chanced that way!
Soft sauntered through the village,
Sauntered as soft away!
So unsuspected violets
Within the fields lie low,
Too late for striving fingers
That passed, an hour ago.

Part Three: Love II

YOU left me, sweet, two legacies,
A legacy of love
A Heavenly Father would content,
Had He the offer of;

You left me boundaries of pain
Capacious as the sea,
Between eternity and time,
Your consciousness and me.

Part One: Life
CXVI


I MEASURE every grief I meet
With analytic eyes;
I wonder if it weighs like mine,
Or has an easier size.

I wonder if they bore it long,
Or did it just begin?
I could not tell the date of mine,
It feels so old a pain.

I wonder if it hurts to live,
And if they have to try,
And whether, could they choose between,
They would not rather die.

I wonder if when years have piled—
Some thousands—on the cause
Of early hurt, if such a lapse
Could give them any pause;
Or would they go on aching still
Through centuries above,
Enlightened to a larger pain
By contrast with the love.

The grieved are many, I am told;
The reason deeper lies,—
Death is but one and comes but once,
And only nails the eyes.

There ’s grief of want, and grief of cold,—
A sort they call “despair”;
There ’s banishment from native eyes,
In sight of native air.

And though I may not guess the kind
Correctly, yet to me
A piercing comfort it affords
In passing Calvary,

To note the fashions of the cross,
Of those that stand alone,
Still fascinated to presume
That some are like my own.

12:54 a.m. ::
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