Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I ENVY Seas Whereon He Rides

I ENVY seas whereon he rides,
I envy spokes of wheels
Of chariots that him convey,
I envy speechless hills

That gaze upon his journey
How easy all can see
What is forbidden utterly
As heaven, unto me!    

I envy nest of sparrows
That dot his distant eaves,
The wealthy fly upon his pane,
The happy, happy leaves

That just abroad his window
Have summer's leave to be,
The earring of Pizarro
Could not obtain for me.

I envy light that wakes him,
And bells that boldly ring
To tell him it is noon abroad,-
Myself his noon could bring,

Yet interdict my blossom
And abrogate my bee,
Lest noon in everlasting night
Drop Gabriel and me.
~Emily Dickinson

Given the sheer number of posts on my blog dedicated to Emily Dickinson, it should come as no surprise to find out Old Em is one of my favorite poets.  Why, you ask?  Well, I'll tell you.  Miss Emily lived in unmarried, isolation for most of her adult life during the nineteenth century, and, because of that fact, fair or not (I'd say not), most of society would have deemed her a dry, old maid, yet, reread the poem above.  Can't you feel her longing for her lover?  In my opinion, Emily was anything, but dry or dispassionate.  Look at how she teases and flirts with language: The very hills that gaze upon her lover's journey are blessed with a gift forbidden her.  Haven't you felt that way?  Envious of the little day to day routines that allow others to see someone you love, while you remain far away?  A twinge of pain pricks at your heart when you think of how others take such a gift granted.  Dickinson, a woman who spent so much time alone, and perhaps lonely, captures those feelings in a way no other poet I've ever read can.   She is timeless.  Literature professors will assure you that there is no other poet like Emily Dickinson.  This woman died in 1886, and now, over one hundred years later we've yet to find her equal.  Dry and dispassionate?  Surely not.  In this poem, I like to think that Dear Emily reminds us to remember that still waters often run deep.  

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