We play at paste,~EMily dickinson
Till qualified for pearl,
Then drop the paste,
And deem ourself a fool.
The shapes, though, were similar,
And our new hands
Brenna: Okay, let’s go!
Brenna: Have you read this one before?
Brenna: I was very familiar with the first four lines, but had somehow never read the last four! I must have seen them quoted somewhere.
Brenna: Excellent! So, let’s talk poem!
Brenna: Yes! I think, on a surface level, it’s about how the simple things we learn as children transfer to adulthood.
Brenna: But I think there’s more to it than that. First of all, there’s the way that we judge our past, younger, less experienced selves–we deem ourselves fools for being psyched about things like learning to tie our own shoes.
Brenna: Then there’s the reversal–“the shapes, though, were similar.” Maybe we weren’t so foolish after all. It almost feels like there’s a teensy tinsy implied critique here of the pearls. Real gems are virtually indistinguishable from good copies. What are we really valuing? And then “our new hands.” It’s as if not only have we changed–we’ve actually become new. We are new people now. And then “gem-tactics.” I stinkin’ love that. It’s like a whole huge social commentary in one made-up, Emilyfied compound word. Women’s self-adorning=tactics.
Pam: I like the differences between the paste and the pearls. You can do so many things with paste–you can make art, fix things. Pearls can pretty much just be admired. The average person wouldn’t have a multitude of uses for them. But we value them more.
Brenna: And “gem-tactics” sounds like “gymnastics”–the ways in which we contort ourselves to fit into our roles as adult women. Oooh, good point! Paste is useful and more fun.
Brenna: I love your point about paste. Paste has a potential that pearls do not. They are done, no longer becoming.
Brenna: Ooooh, Pam!! Pearls are instigated by sand!
Brenna: Sand is what makes pearls!!! TA-DAAAAA!!!
Brenna: We are! AND the sand! We are Every Woman. It’s all in us.
Brenna: We carry within our adult selves the grains of our child selves. They may irritate, but they have made us what we are. DANG, Emily.
Brenna: It’s a great one!
Brenna: We are SO pearls.