Sunday, April 12, 2009

It's All I Have to Bring Today by Emily Dickinson

Yesterday's poem, The Sea Has Its Pearls by Heinrich Heine, which I translated from the original German. With all its talk of the sea and the sky, I must confess that the poem I first thought to follow it with love is more thicker than forget by E.E. Cummings, which picks up on the idea of big love, and references, in its final stanza, the sky:

it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky

But alas, the poem is still under copyright, and I promised you works from the public domain for this month, so I spent more time looking at the poem. And I realized that what attracted me to the poem in the first place is the pair of lines that absolutely slay me: "But my heart, my heart,/my heart has its love." It's the repetition of the word heart that really speaks to me. And so it was, that I ended up selecting another Emily Dickinson poem, even though I shared another of her poems just the other day. It's because of the repetition of heart, you see.

It's All I Have to Bring Today
by Emily Dickinson

It's all I have to bring today –
This, and my heart beside –
This, and my heart, and all the fields –
And all the meadows wide –
Be sure you count – should I forget
Some one the sum could tell –
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.

I think no real commentary and analysis is needed for this particular poem. She's bringing herself, and her heart, and all of nature that surrounds her (or her love of it, which was tremendous). I've seen some analysis that insists that her use of "bring" and "count" are an oblique reference to the parable of the talents from the book of Matthew. While I'm not certain that's correct, were that the case, it would appear that Dickinson is trying to show that she has been a good steward and maximized her "talents".

Like most of her poems it is in hymn metre (8-6-8-6), with a rhyme scheme of XAXAXBXB (where X represents unrhymed lines).

Here's a directory to my National Poetry Month posts thus far, should you be wanting a Table of Contents:

1. The Oven Bird by Robert Frost
2. A Child Said, What Is the Grass? from Song of Myself by Walt Whitman
3. The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats
4. Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley
5. Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare
6. To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time by Robert Herrick
7. Crossing the Bar by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
8. Sea-Fever by John Masefield
9. The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls by Henry Wadworth Longfellow
10. The Sea Has Its Pearls by Heinrich Heine

Bonus poem: Who Has Seen the Wind? by Christina Rossetti

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