I’ve never understood Emily Dickinson, mostly because I’m a moron. Tonight, however, we talked about “One Year Ago”, and wow…
One Year ago—jots what?
God—spell the word! I—can’t—
Was’t Grace? Not that—
Was’t Glory? That—will do—
Such Anniversary shall be—
Sometimes—not often—in Eternity—
When farther Parted, than the Common Woe—
Look—feed upon each other’s faces—so—
In doubtful meal, if it be possible
Their Banquet’s true—
I did not know the Wine
Came once a World—Did you?
Oh, had you told me so—
This Thirst would blister—easier—now—
You said it hurt you—most—
Mine—was an Acorn’s Breast—
And could not know how fondness grew
In Shaggier Vest—
But, had you looked in—
A Giant—eye to eye with you, had been—
So—Twelve months ago—
Then dropped the Air—
Which bore it best?
Was this—the patientest—
Because it was a Child, you know—
And could not value—Air?
If to be “Elder”—mean most pain—
I’m old enough, today, I’m certain—then—
As old as thee—how soon?
One—Birthday more—or Ten?
Ah, Sir, None!
Perhaps my favorite aspect of this poem is how Dickinson takes back the power of the poem from male poets. She does this in particular with the dashes and pauses, I’m guessing – no poetry voice here, no masculine roll of narrative, epic thunder, no powerful stomping of the voice or lowering our voice (because men know we’ll be heard)…
So much work done with so few words…