To him or her of adequate desire

Everyone knows the first line; here’s the whole poem. This is #466 in R.W. Franklin (The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition, Harvard/Belknap Press, 1999).

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –

Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –

1862 was a banner year for St. Emily. She wrote the magnificent “After great pain, a formal feeling comes,” and immediately afterwards a poem whose last couple of lines deserve equal renown (#373):

Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul –

#413 is probably too abstract and explicit to rise to the level of these others, but is valuable precisely because it lays bare one of her central themes:

Heaven is so far of the mind
That were the Mind dissolved –
The Site – of it – by Architect
Could not again be proved –

‘Tis Vast – as our Capacity –
As fair – as our idea –
To Him of adequate desire
No further ’tis, than Here –
__________

Cross-reference: Poem # 910

Posted in

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

Leave a Reply