Thursday, October 28, 2010
~~~~Poem A Day Emily Dickinson~~~"If she had been the Mistletoe" 44/1775
If she had been the Mistletoe ~ by Emily Dickinson
If she had been the Mistletoe
And I had been the Rose —
How gay upon your table
My velvet life to close —
Since I am of the Druid,
And she is of the dew —
I'll deck Tradition's buttonhole —
And send the Rose to you.
Dear Friends of Emily: This is a sweet poem! Emily is completely in the anthropomorphic mood today!
Miss Emily is comparing herself to a rose. I believe there have been many romantic poems who did like comparisons of roses and other natural devices of the literary kind, in particular; "shall I compare thee to a summer day" by William Shakespeare.
Miss Emily Dickinson, as a student of the classics would be well aware of this imaginary device and the power it can evoke in the imagination.
Miss Emily is referring herself to a "rose" and her significant "other she" as "Mistletoe" (note the capitalization of proper pronoun referencing an actual person; also known as personification. Now whom exactly is Miss Emily's "Mistletoe"?
Let me be persistent here, I believe this person is Sue Gilbert or Emily's sister, probably Sue Gilbert as other references to Sue Gilbert, Emily's best friend (BFF) have been made before this time.
Emily is suggesting, in this poem, that if Sue Gilbert were "the Mistletoe" and Emily is the Rose;
"I had been the Rose"
This poem perhaps references a story of the "Mistletoe and the Rose" of which I am not familiar; perhaps someone can tell me if they know of any such story. I am feeling it is a King Arthurian tale! Wait a minute! I'll ask my friends on King Arthurian legends to see if there is a tale similar to "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" for this apocryphial reference! Maybe it is a glaring references which I have never had the pleasure to reference! Undoubtedly!
"Since I am of the Druid"
This is quite a bold statement to make, and considering the Victorian times with which Miss Emily survived periodically, this poem, if it had been released to general readership during "those days" would have been thought much more than presumptious!
Emily has studied the Druid background so she must understand the "witches" of such tales were often "burned at the stake" in early colonial days. Could this be a reason why Emily did not release her works so readily? Not quite ready for parlour usage? Only after her death were these "personal" diary-like poems released! So the plot thickens!
Emily is, beyond doubt, an inquisitve individual would probably, more than likely did not want another Spanish inquistion! Who would? Especially if Emily is beginning to delve into Metaphysica, and other esoteric belief systems such as the esoteric Transcendentalists.
"How gay upon your table
My velvet life to close —"
Self-sacrificial the above statement; definitely romantic of the Romeo and Juliet type sacrifice on the altar of love.
"and she is of the dew"
One cannot get much more sexual than the above statement. Emily is claiming her Mistletoe (a person) is "of the dew". The dew represents renewed spirit and also carnal desires. Since she knows that "Mistletoe" is "of the dew" giving reference and mood to the poem, creating great mystery and intrigue for those "days of yore" found in Druid mysticism. Dew has significant metaphysical properties and used, perhaps in Druid practice of spiritual alchemy.
"I'll deck Tradition's buttonhole —
And send the Rose to you."
These two ending lines of the last stanza are curious and curiouser! So Emily will wear or "deck" or "don" the Mistletoe and send "the Rose" to you. Here Emily is allowing the reader to partake in the ritual of the "Mistletoe and the Rose" as a third party. Emily, by giving herself to us, in the form of "the Rose" is creating a forth wall and extra dimension to her work. After-all we all know what mistletoe references around Christmas time, if one stands under the Mistletoe the person is automatically kissed! Was Emily hoping for this; to be kissed? Who wouldn't? Miss Emily is earthy and sensual here! By "deck" ing "Tradition's buttonhole" (notice the capital "T" in Tradition? Another elusion to personification of Tradition? To me, this sounds very sensual and coy! Miss Emily is "bucking" or "deck"ing "Tradition", that omni-potent "this is the way it is" type of powerful customary contemporary ritual. Is Emily comparing Druid ritual with Victorian ritual? Maybe and perhaps?
I'll keep the rose in my buttonhole and remember the life that inspired it Emily ~ so romantic Emily! And full of daring-do!
Chiccoreal's Contemplative Analytic Poem on "If she had been the Mistletoe"
"If She had been the Rose and the Mistletoe"
Emily's imagination works overtime
it is the time of "don our gay attire"
and all is a swirl of romantic imagery
full of personified plant life
full of perceptions opening up
and becoming something more than "Tradition"
Emily as the rose
in my buttonhole
of my cloche
will remind all of the beauty
of such a quickening life
"My velvet life to close"
Wear it Well; Wear it close
this Rose of Life
The Mistletoe will always be
Embellished my dear sweet Emily
with each fragrant passing sniff!