Have you got a brook in your little heart,
Where bashful flowers blow,
And blushing birds go down to drink,
And shadows tremble so?
And nobody, knows, so still it flows,
That any brook is there;
And yet your little draught of life
Is daily drunken there.
Then look out for the little brook in March,
When the rivers overflow,
And the snows come hurrying from the hills,
And the bridges often go.
And later, in August it may be,
When the meadows parching lie,
Beware, lest this little brook of life
Some burning noon go dry!
Brenna, haphazardly choosing today’s poem: On page 18, IX strikes me as kind of a weirdo one.”Have you got a brook in your little heart.” WHY DOES THIS MAKE ME LAUGH
Pam: Let me flip over. I’ve lost my book. Give me a minute!0
Brenna: I shall paraphrase for you thusly: Your love is a little brook. It is smol and secret. But in March WATCH OUT, PASSION and other things polite nineteenth-century ladies only speak of via euphemism. But then by August, your love is dried up and DEAD and everything Emily Dickinson writes is about DEATH.
Pam: Oh my goodness. Flipping over now.
Brenna: I may be feeling a little punchy…
Pam: I think punchy is the right way to approach this one.”Have you got a brook in your little heart” Emily what even. Everything is bashful and blushing and trembling!
Brenna: Usually she reserves “little” as an epithet for herself, but here it’s second person. But I still get the feeling she’s talking to/about herself.And if you don’t watch out, you will be Overcome! And then die.When your love is in full flood, it will take out bridges!! Beware!!
Pam: I absolutely think she’s talking about herself, and that’s what cracks me up the most. It’s disguised to look humble and it’s doing the exact opposite. Look at me, I am so dainty and I have this very tiny love, which I am shouting about in a poem!
Brenna: YES. My love is very smol and cute and dainty, but then it gets huge and ragingly powerful and it will TAKE YOU DOWN. And then it dies.
Pam: Are you also reading the torrents of March as just inexpressibly huge lust? Is that just me? I’m honestly equating this with the animals going twitterpated in Bambi. Spring = birds and bees!
Brenna: I am reading this exactly the same way. Spring=innocent puppy love. March=lust. It will destroy you and everything else in its path. August=you are OLD and DRIED UP and love is no longer for you. So there!!
Pam: Exactly!!We have the cold in this poem, too! The snows hurrying from the hills. What were you saying about cold in Dickinson’s poems?
Brenna: Cold=passion. Aha!! It still holds true! My Cold Theory of Dickinson!!
Pam: It’s an I Am Very Special poem.
Brenna: It is! It strikes me that rather a lot of her poems are “I Am Very Special” poems. Like Poe, who wrote that from earliest childhood he was totally and completely unlike anyone else. There is so freaking much exceptionalism in poetry. Maybe just American poetry?? Or maybe white people poetry…
Pam: I honestly think it’s just a poet characteristic. I’m not going to say I’m also like that, but I’m also like that. I think if you didn’t have such an inflated sense of self-worth, you’d probably choose a saner career than poet.
Brenna: Is that why we write? Then how do we explain the constant and crippling self-doubt?? She had it too! Why are we paradoxes???
Pam: I think being a writer makes one automatically a parodox. So what do we do with this wilting flower?
Brenna: Hmmm…..Well, let me ask you this– Do you have a brook in YOUR little heart, hmm? Why is this even in the “Love” section? We’re only assuming it’s love because it’s in that section, but this could be ANYTHING. I don’t know what to do with this weirdo poem. Maybe we post it along with a single question–what on earth does she mean??
Pam: Oh, goodness. I don’t have a brook in my heart. My heart is composed primarily of lost socks and pizza.
Brenna: I want to laugh and cry at the same time, that is so true. Lost socks and pizza….yes….It’s the freaking METER. The meter is what makes this poem so very especially weird. Meter and rhyme scheme. It sounds like one of those horrible poems written just to rhyme.
Pam: YES. The poem bends itself in knots to fit the rhyme.
At this point, dear reader, we just gave up.