Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday Poem - 'I died for beauty, but was scarce' by Emily Dickinson

I died for beauty, but was scarce

Adjusted in the tomb,

When one who died for truth was lain

In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed ?

"For beauty," I replied.

"And I for truth, — the two are one ;

We brethren are," he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a night,

We talked between the rooms,

Until the moss had reached our lips,

And covered up our names.

I have to confess to not having read a lot of Emily Dickinson, despite her huge influence on other poets I did - and do - read. In my earlier poetry reading years I found her syntax and use of capitalisation stilted and was further put off by quite so many references to Death and God. However, I've decided that I need to start looking more closely at her work, so this is my first foray. Although this poem is certainly about death, it's a journey that's shared by a kinsman and is accompanied by soft talk until moss, a benign presence, stops both talk and separate identity. I like it.

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1 comment:

Helen Lowe said...

I think Emily Dickinson is the kind of poet who gets under your skin and then you can't do without her ...