Tuesday, July 10, 2012

An incongruous mermaid





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


Emily Dickinson, c. 1862

9 comments:

  1. Her poetry is so secretly sensual. My blog title is from Dickinson.

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  2. But what does that MEAN, Elizabeth? (Just kidding. Sort of.)

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  3. I've become a great appreciator of modesty, though I doubt it will ever be back in style as a concept, no matter how the pendulum swings. But there's something adorable about that bathing suit or sun suit or whatever it is, and I love the look of frank meeting on her face. Goes beautifully with the poem.

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  4. Such an exquisite poem, Elizabeth, and it immediately made me think of your Sophie, your mermaid caught between sea and land.

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  5. I read a book by Kate Atkinson earlier this year called "Started Early, Took My Dog." I had NO IDEA the title came from Emily Dickinson. You learn something new every day, right?!

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  6. Vesuvius at Home: What poem is it? I'd love to see the entire one!

    Ms. Moon: I think it's about seduction and vulnerability, loneliness and being strange

    Steve Reed: Wow. I remember seeing that book, but just now saw that it's the first line of the poem! Thanks for pointing out!

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  7. A favorite. Thank you for posting. I love especially this stanza, so perfect:

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

    And wonderful to connect this old favorite with your Sophie.

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