thanks mb for photo prompt
Whether my bark went down at sea — by Emily Dickinson
Whether my bark went down at sea,
Whether she met with gales,
Whether to isles enchanted
She bent her docile sails ;
By what mystic mooring
She is held to-day, —
This is the errand of the eye
Out upon the bay.
After Comments by Chiccoreal
A very lyric poem of a visionary boat by a transcendental mystic. Also throughtly modern!
Miss Emily em"barks" with much imagination a scene of such personal tragedy and levity; the dictomy whimsical as it is her boat;
Emily may be describing a bobbing bark which she has found and is espousing upon with her vivid imagination. Again we are impressed to yet another one of Emily's witty puns. "Bark" being both the bark of a wooden ship as well as evoking the term to embark upon a journey. The journey being an invisible journey of the imaginary kind.
As Emily's imagination suggests that the boat "bark" may have met with fate of two various kinds. One being a "gale" or that of being met to "isles enchanted".
Emily leaves us guessing in the first stanza. "Whether" also conjures the homonym "weather" and the very crucial importance of weather at sea. The "weather" always being "if-y", and unsure thing, and a sailor is constantly on watch for good or bad weather. The journey (life) can be pleasant or unpleasant just as the weather can flip like a coin at a moment's notice. One must be prepared spiritually at a moment's notice as well.
"She bent her docile sail" suggest a foment of meaning to Emily; undoubtly having personal connotations. Possibly meaning Emily has relented to the nature of the tide, of life's storms, "whether" good or bad, etc. "Bent" being also suggestive of having to succumb to the physical hardships of the material world. Emily feels she must become "docile" because the storms are often larger than life and beyond human control.
"By what mystic mooring" reference is indicative of a Chrisitan-themed imagery. The Christian mystic image of a boat, references Christ miracles on the Dead Sea, his walking on the water, and in particular the calming of the storm with the apostles in tow; witnesses to Jesus' miracles
For Emily knows that it is wise and advisable to place trust in one's faith, not to place too much concern or worry about the storms of life; they will always be present.
"She is held to-day" reflects how the imagery has effected her physically this image of the ghost ship of the mind's imagination.
As Emily is describing this ghost ship, one which is holds a "mystic mooring" so that "an errand of the eye" makes it appear as if by mystical magic. Emily again, uses a pun in "errand" meaning the eye travels.
There is a very important job to perform; that is to seek that which is unseen as well as the punned word being, possibly, "errant" of the eye, which would make more sense, as the "fooling the eye" or "trompe l'oiel" is very much in the mind's eye of the Victorian mind-set who did employ amply this treatment of using imagination in art, architecture, etc. Here Emily uses verbal "trompe l'oeil" for a simple, and brilliant effect!
Chiccoreal's Take On "Whether My Bark Went Down At Sea"
To see the trees
One little piece of wood
A dog barking in the park
Drifting off to sleep
Don't fear the too Deep
Far beyond the Great Beyond
This Ship of Fools
It Is not waterlogged
It is shipworthy
all these years
for prime time
for the enjoyment
of the imagination
tugs of the heart string
pull her into shore
As Muse of Imagination
She'll Always Inspire
on the Far Shore