Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson
(1830-1886)
American poetess

Love-poems

You left me
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.

If you were coming in the fall
If you were coming in the fall, I ’d brush the summer by With half a smile and half a spurn, As housewives do a fly. If I could see you in a year, I ’d wind the months in balls, And put them each in separate drawers, Until their time befalls. If only centuries delayed, I ’d count them on my hand, Subtracting till my fingers dropped Into Van Diemen’s land. If certain, when this life was out, That yours and mine should be, I ’d toss it yonder like a rind, And taste eternity. But now, all ignorant of the length Of time’s uncertain wing, It goads me, like the goblin bee, That will not state its sting.

I hide myself within my flower
I hide myself within my flower, That wearing on your breast, You, unsuspecting, wear me too— And angels know the rest. I hide myself within my flower, That, fading from your vase, You, unsuspecting, feel for me Almost a loneliness.

That I did always love
That I did always love, I bring thee proof: That till I loved I did not love enough. That I shall love alway, I offer thee That love is life, And life hath immortality. This, dost thou doubt, sweet? Then have I Nothing to show But Calvary.

Have you got a brook in your little heart
Have you got a brook in your little heart, Where bashful flowers blow, And blushing birds go down to drink, And shadows tremble so? And nobody, knows, so still it flows, That any brook is there; And yet your little draught of life Is daily drunken there. Then look out for the little brook in March, When the rivers overflow, And the snows come hurrying from the hills, And the bridges often go. And later, in August it may be, When the meadows parching lie, Beware, lest this little brook of life Some burning noon go dry!

As if some little Arctic flower
As if some little Arctic flower, Upon the polar hem, Went wandering down the latitudes, Until it puzzled came To continents of summer, To firmaments of sun, To strange, bright crowds of flowers, And birds of foreign tongue! I say, as if this little flower To Eden wandered in— What then? Why, nothing, only Your inference therefrom!

My river runs to thee
My river runs to thee: Blue sea, wilt welcome me? My river waits reply. Oh sea, look graciously! I ’ll fetch thee brooks From spotted nooks,— Say, sea, Take me!

I cannot live with you
I cannot live with you, It would be life, And life is over there Behind the shelf The sexton keeps the key to, Putting up Our life, his porcelain, Like a cup Discarded of the housewife, Quaint or broken; A newer Sèvres pleases, Old ones crack. I could not die with you, For one must wait To shut the other’s gaze down,— You could not. And I, could I stand by And see you freeze, Without my right of frost, Death’s privilege? Nor could I rise with you, Because your face Would put out Jesus’, That new grace Glow plain and foreign On my homesick eye, Except that you, than he Shone closer by. They ’d judge us—how? For you served Heaven, you know, Or sought to; I could not, Because you saturated sight, And I had no more eyes For sordid excellence As Paradise. And were you lost, I would be, Though my name Rang loudest On the heavenly fame. And were you saved, And I condemned to be Where you were not, That self were hell to me. So we must keep apart, You there, I here, With just the door ajar That oceans are, And prayer, And that pale sustenance, Despair!
Upward

There came a day at summer’s full
There came a day at summer’s full Entirely for me; I thought that such were for the saints, Where revelations be. The sun, as common, went abroad, The flowers, accustomed, blew, As if no sail the solstice passed That maketh all things new. The time was scarce profaned by speech; The symbol of a word Was needless, as at sacrament The wardrobe of our Lord. Each was to each the sealed church, Permitted to commune this time, Lest we too awkward show At supper of the Lamb. The hours slid fast, as hours will, Clutched tight by greedy hands; So faces on two decks look back, Bound to opposing lands. And so, when all the time had failed, Without external sound, Each bound the other’s crucifix, We gave no other bond. Sufficient troth that we shall rise— Deposed, at length, the grave— To that new marriage, justified Through Calvaries of Love!

I’m wife
I’m wife; I ’ve finished that, That other state; I ’m Czar, I ’m woman now: It ’s safer so. How odd the girl’s life looks Behind this soft eclipse! I think that earth seems so To those in heaven now. This being comfort, then That other kind was pain; But why compare? I ’m wife! stop there!

She rose to his requirement, dropped
She rose to his requirement, dropped The playthings of her life To take the honorable work Of woman and of wife. If aught she missed in her new day Of amplitude, or awe, Or first prospective, or the gold In using wore away, It lay unmentioned, as the sea Develops pearl and weed, But only to himself is known The fathoms they abide.

Come slowly, Eden!
Come slowly, Eden! lips unused to thee, Bashful, sip thy jasmines, As the fainting bee, Reaching late his flower, Round her chamber hums, Counts his nectars --enters, And is lost in balms!

Of all the souls that stand create
Of all the souls that stand create I have elected one. When sense from spirit files away, And subterfuge is done; When that which is and that which was Apart, intrinsic, stand, And this brief tragedy of flesh Is shifted like a sand; When figures show their royal front And mists are carved away,— Behold the atom I preferred To all the lists of clay!

I have no life but this
I have no life but this, To lead it here; Nor any death, but lest Dispelled from there; Nor tie to earths to come, Nor action new, Except through this extent, The realm of you.

I gave myself to him
I gave myself to him, And took himself for pay. The solemn contract of a life Was ratified this way. The wealth might disappoint, Myself a poorer prove Than this great purchaser suspect, The daily own of Love Depreciate the vision; But, till the merchant buy, Still fable, in the isles of spice, The subtle cargoes lie. At least, ’t is mutual risk,— Some found it mutual gain; Sweet debt of Life,—each night to owe, Insolvent, every noon.

Wild nights! Wild nights!
Wild nights! Wild nights! Were I with thee, Wild nights should be Our luxury! Futile the winds To a heart in port,— Done with the compass, Done with the chart. Rowing in Eden! Ah! the sea! Might I but moor To-night in thee!

Did the harebell loose her girdle
Did the harebell loose her girdle To the lover bee, Would the bee the harebell hallow Much as formerly? Did the paradise, persuaded, Yield her moat of pearl, Would the Eden be an Eden, Or the earl an earl?

In lands I never saw
In lands I never saw, they say, Immortal Alps look down, Whose bonnets touch the firmament, Whose sandals touch the town,— Meek at whose everlasting feet A myriad daisies play. Which, sir, are you, and which am I, Upon an August day?

The MOON is distant from the sea
The MOON is distant from the sea, And yet with amber hands She leads him, docile as a boy, Along appointed sands. He never misses a degree; Obedient to her eye, He comes just so far toward the town, Just so far goes away. Oh, Signor, thine the amber hand, And mine the distant sea,— Obedient to the least command Thine eyes impose on me.
Upward

What if I say I shall not wait?
What if I say I shall not wait? What if I burst the fleshly gate And pass, escaped, to thee? What if I file this mortal off, See where it hurt me,—that ’s enough,— And wade in liberty? They cannot take us any more,— Dungeons may call, and guns implore; Unmeaning now, to me, As laughter was an hour ago, Or laces, or a travelling show, Or who died yesterday!

Proud of my broken heart
Proud of my broken heart since thou didst break it, Proud of the pain I did not feel till thee, Proud of my night since thou with moons dost slake it, Not to partake thy passion, my humility.

Love is anterior to life
Love is anterior to life, Posterior to death, Initial of creation, and The exponent of breath.

When roses cease to bloom, dear
When roses cease to bloom, dear, And violets are done, When bumble-bees in solemn flight Have passed beyond the sun, The hand that paused to gather Upon this summer’s day Will idle lie, in Auburn,— Then take my flower, pray!

Summer for thee grant I may be
Summer for thee grant I may be When summer days are flown! Thy music still when whippoorwill And oriole are done! For thee to bloom, I ’ll skip the tomb And sow my blossoms o’er! Pray gather me, Anemone, Thy flower forevermore!

Split the lark and you ’ll find the music
Split the lark and you ’ll find the music, Bulb after bulb, in silver rolled, Scantily dealt to the summer morning, Saved for your ear when lutes be old. Loose the flood, you shall find it patent, Gush after gush, reserved for you; Scarlet experiment! sceptic Thomas, Now, do you doubt that your bird was true?

To lose thee
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.

Poor little heart!
Poor little heart! Did they forget thee? Then dinna care! Then dinna care! Proud little heart! Did they forsake thee? Be debonair! Be debonair! Frail little heart! I would not break thee: Could’st credit me? Could’st credit me? Gay little heart! Like morning glory Thou’ll wilted be; thou’ll wilted be!

I've got an arrow here
I've got an arrow here; Loving the hand that sent it, I the dart revere. Fell, they will say, in “skirmish”! Vanquished, my soul will know, By but a simple arrow Sped by an archer’s bow.

He fumbles at your spirit
He fumbles at your spirit As players at the keys Before they drop full music on; He stuns you by degrees, Prepares your brittle substance For the ethereal blow, By fainter hammers, further heard, Then nearer, then so slow Your breath has time to straighten, Your brain to bubble cool,— Deals one imperial thunderbolt That scalps your naked soul.

Heart, we will forget him!
Heart, we will forget him! You and I, to-night! You may forget the warmth he gave, I will forget the light. When you have done, pray tell me, That I my thoughts may dim; Haste! lest while you’re lagging, I may remember him!
Upward

Father, I bring thee not myself
Father, I bring thee not myself,— That were the little load; I bring thee the imperial heart I had not strength to hold. The heart I cherished in my own Till mine too heavy grew, Yet strangest, heavier since it went, Is it too large for you?

We outgrow love like other things
We outgrow love like other things And put it in the drawer, Till it an antique fashion shows Like costumes grandsires wore.

Not with a club the heart is broken
Not with a club the heart is broken, Nor with a stone; A whip, so small you could not see it, I ’ve known To lash the magic creature Till it fell, Yet that whip’s name too noble Then to tell. Magnanimous of bird By boy descried, To sing unto the stone Of which it died.

My friend must be a bird
My friend must be a bird, Because it flies! Mortal my friend must be, Because it dies! Barbs has it, like a bee. Ah, curious friend, Thou puzzlest me!

He touched me, so I live to know
He touched me, so I live to know That such a day, permitted so, I groped upon his breast. It was a boundless place to me, And silenced, as the awful sea Puts minor streams to rest. And now, I ’m different from before, As if I breathed superior air, Or brushed a royal gown; My feet, too, that had wandered so, My gypsy face transfigured now To tenderer renown.

Let me not mar that perfect dream
Let me not mar that perfect dream By an auroral stain, But so adjust my daily night That it will come again.

I live with him, I see his face
I live with him, I see his face; I go no more away For visitor, or sundown; Death’s single privacy, The only one forestalling mine, And that by right that he Presents a claim invisible, No wedlock granted me. I live with him, I hear his voice, I stand alive to-day To witness to the certainty Of immortality Taught me by Time,—the lower way, Conviction every day,— That life like this is endless, Be judgment what it may.

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 nests 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 earrings 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.

A solemn thing it was, I said
A solemn thing it was, I said, A woman white to be, And wear, if God should count me fit, Her hallowed mystery. A timid thing to drop a life Into the purple well, Too plummetless that it come back Eternity until.

Title divine is mine
Title divine is mine The Wife without The Sign. Acute degree Conferred on me— Empress of Calvary. Royal all but the Crown— Betrothed, without the swoon God gives us women When two hold Garnet to garnet, Gold to gold— Born—Bridalled— Shrouded— In a day Tri-Victory— “My Husband” Women say Stroking the melody, Is this the way?


Emily Dickinson
(1830-1886)

Upward


Emily Dickinson - Anthology


Emily Dickinson - YOUR riches taught me poverty


Emily Dickinson - In het Nederlands


Dead Poetesses Society



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