Saturday, June 18, 2011

Emily Dickinson "Taken from men — this morning —" 52/1775

Taken from men — this morning — by Emily Dickinson

Taken from men — this morning —
Carried by men today —
Met by the Gods with banners —
Who marshaled her away —

One little maid — from playmates —
One little mind from school —
There must be guests in Eden —
All the rooms are full —

Far — as the East from Even —
Dim — as the border star —
Courtiers quaint, in Kingdoms
Our departed are.

Emily is undoubtedly talking about the death of a young female child.

A common hard fact of life and daily occurrence during the Victoria days. So much so that Emily expands upon this fact;

All the rooms are full —

Notice how Emily discussed "men" "taken" and "carried". Men of heaven and earth. The men being an interesting way of suggesting the way it must have seemed to Emily. The pallbearers being men and angels being men.

"Gods" are apparently not described as men by Emily which I find extremely interesting. "Gods" is also interesting here as it is a departure from pure Ancient Grecian fantasy of the Epic novel studied at Amherst.

Emily's fantasy foray is for this readership to this point 53/1775 critical in her direct approach to using actual life events mixed with her studies especially the Ancient Greek poem, etc. It is a departure for Emily to discuss "Gods" especially if there is a capital "G". Is Emily angry at the Big G? For the many deaths she had to endure, or does she blame "men" for there role in this grand design of unknown origin?

Maybe someone called this little dead girl "one little maid" in parting, and this had a traumatic effect on Emily. As I can imagine that using the word "Gods" with a capital G would be severely frowned upon in uptight Victorian culture.
"one little mind from school" How many little girls had the opportunity to go to school and become as important as the "men" in this poem. Those who are so responsible as to not know the origin of the unknown? Emily seems biting here.

"There must be guests in Eden"

Here and in the next stanza "Eden" "Even" "East" is used to describe an alliteration of the mystical kind. Is "Even" reference to the Evening Star (Christ) in the "East" which is where heaven or "Eden" (The Garden of Eden) now resides?

"Dim as the border star"

Who is awaiting at the border? The little dead girl or "one little maiden"? Why is it dim? Is earth's spirituality "dim"? Is this what Emily is suggesting by way of poetic license?

Now the dead are "Courtiers Quaint", "in Kingdoms" "Our departed are"
It seems that the dead become part of the court or "Courtiers" of heaven "Eden".
Why they are "Quaint" maybe a sarcastic attack on the handling of this little dead girl and her once lively "mind". Quaint may be like saying "cute" in a sarcastic and sardonic way today.

"Our departed are" now living in some capacity "in Kingdoms" of heaven, indeed Eden maybe a lower heaven to Emily, as Heaven is segmented into levels arranged for spiritual attainment, the priest, etc; (144,000?).

No longer a men-matter event now that this one "little maid" (wouldn't she be a maiden?) This is also an anomaly; and I find this poem questioning, if not somewhat disturbing a thought-process.

Chiccoreal's Take on "Taken From Men This Morning"

Bright Morning Star
A light has grown Dim
Where little lights go
dressed as old Maids
where only the dead go now
Men! What a task left
to bury the life once rose
to the morning sun
When only Maidens
the youthful blush of life
as quick as the rose
Harken back
the Heralding of Angels
A quick sinner's prayer
and Enter the Kingdom of Heaven
Open The Gates For All for see
Eden's back and call



  1. Seems you are a bit angry at the big G too! "A quick sinner's prayer/ and Enter the Kingdom of Heaven". Seems a bit convenient doesn't it!
    Yes, your interpretation of Emily's poem makes sense as does your own, making the point a bit more forcefully with men burying the 'Bright morning star' and the maidens thinking about it all and perhaps being angry at the unfairness of it all.
    Should that read 'beck and call'?

  2. Dear Stafford: Wonders if Emily was an early feminist! No, I am not at all "angry at the big G". What's the point arguing with convention? If I have come across another reason to say the sinner's prayer; so be it. (oh, no! not the sinner's prayer again!). Yes, I've learned to let my hair down since the tight 1800's french chignon and let my bent sail weather these storms from the comment section. Besides, it is a lot more better than well so to do. Yes, it should read "beck and call" originally but I was trying to pull a pun like Emily! Seems that I am reading far too much into these quaint poems, aren't I? Thanks for the input Stafford! Controversy sells papers!