Monday, March 23, 2015

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

***I posted this years ago, and I just love it so I'm posting it again.


  1. Incredible. I miss poetry, thanks for bringing me back to it.

  2. I love it too! I had forgotten that as the source of the title of Kate Atkins's novel "Started Early, Took My Dog."

    1. Oops -- Atkinson, not Atkins.

    2. I didn't know that, Steve. Thanks!

  3. Still trying to figure out what incongruous means...

  4. I've never read this one! Thank you for sharing it.



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