Sunday, July 25, 2010

~~~EMILY!!! POEM-A-DAY~~~"We lose — because we win —"21/1775

"We lose — because we win —
Gamblers — recollecting which
Toss their dice again"

Emily Dickinson

Ever the philosopher, Emily is evoking a tanku or haiku (almost) simplicity. Here knowledge of "losing to win" is deep and meaningful; formulated in a fomentive mind.

Is a Gambler a bird? Was Emily referring to a Warbler? Emily does like to play this game of "recognizable and cliche-type archetypical idiom with her own off-set play on a phrase which may be called a "pun-like phrase". Emily turns us on our ear to serve us her own brand of seeing the world in a fun, frolicking way.

No there are no "Gambler" birds. This poem is simple so I shall be as well. I think this poem is very straight-forward so I won't go into lengths today regarding possible analysis. I just found it odd that Emily would be speaking about Gambling. Maybe Emily is showing her independent spirit and trying to pull away from the religious attitude of the day regarding gambling, which, as we know, was the fact that "gambling" is evil.

However, if Emily has felt her soul saved maybe she thought that gambling would not have an effect if one is already saved or victorious. Maybe Emily is reflecting on a close-family member's gambling problem; maybe her brother Will. She may be trying to philosphize his seeming immoral behaviour. Again this is sited as an example, only!

We can see how Emily's mind churns through various problem areas and comes up with life on her own terms. I admire greatly Emily's independent spirit and vive!

Maybe Emily was reading materials which had a gambling theme; maybe native themed work like below. (This is an amazing site of Native American folk-lore). Some of these stories have been recorded by Native elders years ago and are in the Smithsonian files.(at bottom of page).



  1. Great take on this...I have not read this piece of hers...thank you for sharing...I somehow feel as you that it probably was a family member or a close friend....loved to learn about this piece...bkm

  2. My interpretation of the line 'we lose because we win' is the simple proposition that if we had never won we would have quit but the occasional win keeps us trying and of course we end up losing overall. The last lines confirm this, as the gambler recollects which tosses won and wants to relive that toss. Or have I missed something? :-)

  3. @signed...bkm Thanks! Yes Emily is personable, you can sense her through her words; she is unique! I do feel an affinity to her; not sure if or why but I guess when reading her words (or any writer) there is a sense of being Emily (take on Being Bob Dylan; I have not seen the movie yet!). So it is very subjective here. If anyone wants an objective approach to poetry I have to say; "Are you kidding?".
    Poetry is about the emotions of the individual and that is very personal. Maybe that is why Emily never gave up these poems to the general public; they were hidden away like a diary.

  4. This is not a Dickinson poem I have ever read before. I admit that I don't really understand the words as they stand there.

    Did she actually mean 'gambling' in the accepted sense?

    I also read your long magpie.
    I think I need to know you and your blog much better and read more of it before I can follow the thoughts and images the picture provoked in you.
    The treatment is very complicated and unusual.

  5. @Stafford Ray Love your intrepretation of the poem "We lose because we win". You have to lose to win" I get this and I wholly appreciate your shining the light on this! We're all "gamblers" like Kenny Rogers would say!

  6. @Friko Thank-you Friko for your comments. I try to go beyond my usual "plainess" in writing as I tend to bore the reader like silly. The mag "Love Remains" was a poem/prose/short story. Tried to think about where all that "love juice" goes not just of the CSI kind, but also, of the actual love energy; if it is a form unknown by physics, unmeasurable, that sort of thing. I guess I tried to go out as far out on a limb and tangent as I could which may or may not be a usual procedure for me. I guess On The Poetry Bus is pushing the envelope for me, to see thing in less than typical ways. Maybe Creative Writing? I feel hone in for next mag (I hope) Maybe it is the full moon lunacy affecting my nodes; but it has been this midsummer heat had an effect on the cortex. Oops. Sorry!