A nobody

Emily Dickinson once wrote : “If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?”

Here is a poem by Emily Dickinson:

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 June
To an admiring bog!

( A bog is a wet spongy ground full of moss and decayed vegetable matter)

Emily Dickenson wrote over 1800 poems during her lifetime( 1830- 1886). However less than a dozen were published during her life. She was considered an eccentric by her neighbors because she rarely left her house, dressed only in white and seldom met anyone. During the last few years of her life she avoided meeting people altogether- preferring to talk to them from the other side of the door and not show her face at all.

Her poetry is the poetry of love, loneliness and death. A very famous poem that almost everyone is familiar with is “success is counted sweetest”. Her huge collection of poems were discovered after her death.

Here is a beautiful poem:

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 Diemens 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.

Here is a very nice short poem by her:

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 Daisy play—
Which, Sir, are you and which am I
Upon an August day?

And in this poem she compares her love to the Caspian sea. She says that the Caspian sea too has a part that is water and another which is just sand. The sand stands for the loss and pain of love and the water for the pleasure. According to her if the sand did not exist the Caspian would not exist.

To lose thee – sweeter than to gain
All other hearts I knew.
‘Tis 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.

Kanwar

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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.
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