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what does this mean?
Posted by: kevin12131 (---.oc.oc.cox.net)
Date: September 20, 2003 07:05PM

So we must keep apart,
You there, I here,
With just the door ajar
That oceans are, <-----
And prayer, <------
And that pale sustenance,
Despair!

-from "i cannot live with you" by emily dickenson....






poem: [www.emule.com]


Re: what does this mean?
Posted by: -Les- (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: September 21, 2003 12:26AM

Sounds to me like she's saying they're "oceans apart". A euphemism for being a long ways away from each other. The inference is that they are apart
philosophically so they must also be apart physically.

Les


Re: what does this mean?
Posted by: Talia (216.117.98.---)
Date: September 22, 2003 12:03PM

Are you sure they are apart physically? You there, I here, with just the door ajar, makes me think they are in different rooms, but oceans apart. No? I don't know.


Re: what does this mean?
Posted by: -Les- (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: September 22, 2003 12:25PM

Here is the entire poem:

I cannot live with you,
by Emily Dickinson

I cannot live with you,
It would be life,
And life is over there
Behind the shelf

The sexton keeps the key to,
Putting up
Our life, his porcelain,
Like a cup

Discarded of the housewife,
Quaint or broken;
A newer Sevres pleases,
Old ones crack.

I could not die with you,
For one must wait
To shut the other's gaze down,--
You could not.

And I, could I stand by
And see you freeze,
Without my right of frost,
Death's privilege?

Nor could I rise with you,
Because your face
Would put out Jesus'.
That new grace

Glow plain and foreign
On my homesick eye,
Except that you, than he
Shone closer by.

They'd judge us--how?
For you served Heaven, you know
Or sought to;
I could not,

Because you saturated sight,
And I had no more eyes
For sordid excellence
As Paradise.

And were you lost, I would be,
Though my name
Rang loudest
On the heavenly fame.

And were you saved,
And I condemned to be
Where you were not,
That self were hell to me.

So we must keep apart,
You there, I here,
With just the door ajar
That oceans are,
And prayer,
And that pale sustenance,
Despair!


Re: what does this mean?
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: September 22, 2003 12:36PM


I think "you" are dead and "I" am still alive.


.....I could not die with you,
.....For one must wait
.....To shut the other's gaze down


(As "The Profit" says: Even the best of friends cannot attend each other's funerals.)


.....So we must keep apart,
.....You there, I here,

So I'm in this world and you are in the next ...

.....With just the door ajar
.....That oceans are, <-----
.....And prayer, <------
.....And that pale sustenance,
.....Despair!


But we are not separated by a wall or a closed door. (compare to: "Death is nothing... I have just stepped into the next room.")

What separates us, CONNECTS US:

Just as a "door ajar" prevents us from seeing each other, but it's also the passage one of us will use to join the other,

Likewise, an OCEAN that separates two people is also the path that a boat can use to bring them together,

and (here she gets spiritual) we are connected by PRAYER and DESPAIR.

All of which adds up to her saying: You are not GONE, you are just so far away that it hurts. Yet even the pain of missing you is something that connects me TO you.



-from "i cannot live with you" by emily dickenson....


Re: what does this mean?
Posted by: Pam Adams (---)
Date: September 22, 2003 02:50PM

I think we argued long ago that this poem is about Dickinson (or the narrator) falling in love with a married man. Even though they're nearby, they're apart.

pam


Re: what does this mean?
Posted by: -Les- (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: September 22, 2003 03:49PM

Pam, if it's about an affair why the despair. Some relationship!

Les


Re: what does this mean?
Posted by: Talia (216.117.99.---)
Date: September 22, 2003 03:53PM

What a beautiful poem. Dickinson was a genius.


Re: what does this mean?
Posted by: Pam Adams (---.bus.csupomona.edu)
Date: September 22, 2003 06:52PM

He's not only a married man, but a married clergyman. Here's the original discussion. [www.emule.com] />
pam




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