Pathos!!

A poor torn heart, a tattered heart,
That sat it down to rest,
Nor noticed that the ebbing day
Flowed silver to the west,
Nor noticed night did soft descend
Nor constellation burn,
Intent upon the vision
Of latitudes unknown.

The angels, happening that way,
This dusty heart espied;
Tenderly took it up from toil
And carried it to God.
There,—sandals for the barefoot;
There,—gathered from the gales,
Do the blue havens by the hand
Lead the wandering sails.

~Emily Dickinson

Dickinson is definitely going for the pathos with this one. “A poor torn heart, a tattered heart.” Intent upon its visions, the “heart” does not see the ebbing day, the encroaching night. It slips away, into the embrace of angels who carry it to God. I don’t know what to say about this one because it seems too obvious. And maybe a little cutesy, too, compared to the angst and existential dread of which Dickinson is so capable.

This is the kind of poem that makes me really, really wonder who Dickinson was. Was she this person? Or the person who wrote about the numbness of death? Or was she both? I suppose we all contain multitudes, and all of these are her. But some of her poems are rather difficult to reconcile with other ones. This feels like the kind of poem that would have been written by Emily Dickinson, Good Christian Girl. Very different from yesterday’s, which was clearly penned by Emily Dickinson, Preacher’s Kid Gone Wild.

But hey! It wraps up a month of (largely) shipwreck poems with a reference to salvaged ships, so it’s all good.

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