Dickinson Friday: 13

THE SOUL selects her own society,
Then shuts the door;
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more.

Unmoved, she notes the chariot’s pausing
At her low gate;
Unmoved, an emperor is kneeling
Upon her mat.

I ’ve known her from an ample nation
Choose one;
Then close the valves of her attention
Like stone.


Janet Rubin said...

This one's harder, but lovely if it means what I think it means. (i'm sure it's still lovely, even if I'm way off:) I'll give it a shot:

The first stanza is about choosing God. He comes in, becoming the majority, the One enthroned in the heart, the soul's closest companion. The door is shut, and non one else is allowed to break up this soul/God fellowship.
In stanza two, there is temptation, other things trying to catch the soul's attention, but regardless of the value of the alternative, she refuses to take her eyes off her divine lover.
Stanza three: shes made her choice and stands faithful, unmoved.

Even if I haven't gotten it quite right, I'd love to be able to say my devotion was that steadfast and strong!

Noel De Vries said...

You know what, Janet? Poetry is all about meaning what you think it means. I love your interpretation! My thoughts on the poem are more worldly. ;)

Janet Rubin said...

Now, I know you're trying to be nice, Lady N, but I have to disagree with this statement:

"Poetry is all about meaning what you think it means."

Don't you think Emily would disagree. I mean certainly she meant something in particular, not just whatever the reader thought she meant. There has to be a right and wrong. Just like when you're reading the Bible. Some people say that the Bible's meaning all depends on how one interprets that, but not so. It means what God meant it to mean, right? Either we get it right or partially right or just flat-out wrong, but it can't mean different things...

I'll leave it at that:)

Noel De Vries said...

No, I'm not being nice. Sure, Emily had something specific in mind when she wrote this, but each reader brings individual thought patterns to a poem. They each see it in a slightly different shade of light.

Emily isn't God, and there are levels of interpretation in all poetry. The only one who can say with definance "this is what it means" is the author. Every reader will have an individual interpretation, perhaps similar to each other when the poem is more obvious, but never identical. So maybe "all about what you think it is" was a bit strong, but it's definitely there.

Janet Rubin said...

We were just learning about this guy Lacon in psych class. His whole theory is about how language is subjective because we all understand things differently. He's got a point.