granite lip

If I should n’t be alive
When the robins come,
Give the one in red cravat
A memorial crumb.

If I could n’t thank you,
Being just asleep,
You will know I ’m trying
With my granite lip!

~Emily Dickinson
Image via Pexels.

Sheesh, Emily. This is another one of those “poor lil’ Emily” poems that seems so wildly at odds with poems like “Because I could not stop for Death.” Is she writing from the perspective of a child? That would explain the pathetic tone and the simplistic diction. I’m not sure. I do like the line about the “granite lip”–it evokes both the cold stiffness of the dead and their stone memorials. There’s a wonderfully weird sort of suggestion here of the speaker somehow morphing into her own memorial, becoming the stone angel of her own grave. Maybe. Maybe not. It’s the end of a long day.

It’s strange to try to reconcile all the different Emilys. I don’t know if it’s even possible, aside from spouting some vague platitudes about how we all contain worlds within ourselves.

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