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11 June 2012

I held a Jewel in my fingers –


I held a Jewel in my fingers –
And went to sleep –
The day was warm, and winds were prosy –
I said "'Twill keep" –

I woke – and chid my honest fingers,
The Gem was gone –
And now, an Amethyst remembrance
Is all I own –
                                                            F261 (1861)

This poem of love lost recounts an experience so very familiar to most readers. We have a beloved as precious to us as a jewel. But in the summer of love – its warm days and mild winds, calm and sweet as if it would continue forever – we grow complacent. Alas, when we wake the beloved has slipped away. Only memories remain.
"Woman leaning on a chair:
Frederico Zandomeneghi
            The poet, however, doesn’t really blame herself: the fingers that loosened their hold on the “Gem” were “honest.” It was not their fault; rather, it was a restless lover. The tone is not bitter or heartbroken, however, but nostalgic. A Gem that must be gripped tight, for whose possession sleep is not permitted, is not much of a treasure, after all. We leave the poem with a sense that the “Amethyst remembrance” is not such a bad keepsake after all.

In keeping with its gentle tone, the poem has a regular, song-like construction. In each of the two stanzas the first and third lines are in iambic tetrameter, while the second and fourth are iambic dimeter. The evenness of the lines contributes to the drowsy, nostalgic feel. The prevalence of “w” sounds in the third line also contributes: “The day was warm, and winds were prosy.” The end rhymes of “sleep” and “keep” further lull the senses. It is not an exciting poem but one that is carefully crafted and that rings true. 

6 comments:

  1. What first entered my mind when I read this poem was when I forget to write down a great idea. Later, even if I can concentrate and remember the gist of what the idea had been, it never seems to compare to the original idea, as far as how powerful or creative it had been at first. It always seems to have lost something and is less sparkly and more "purply," like an "amethyst remembrance." Because "amethyst" to Dickinson means purple, which means "the end" to her, whether it is the end of the day or the end of a life, I wonder if her jewel was an idea for a poem instead of a lessening of love. But knowing Emily, it probably means both!

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    1. I hadn't even thought of a poem -- but it makes a lot of sense here. Sometimes I get too stuck on biography...

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  2. At first I had no idea what this meant. Then I caught on that the "Jewel" probably was not referring to an actual jewel like the one found in jewelry. I thought, " Maybe she means she lost her child ('the jewel in her fingers') and the second she turned her back ('and went to sleep') ('the day was warm, and winds were prosy'((means that it was a normal humdrum day))) and "I woke" (when she turns back around) the Gem (notice how "gem is capitalized) was gone (her child was abducted/kidnapped/moved on). The Amethyst remembrance I thought was the kid's leftover possessions that she had left that are not as valuable to her as the Jewel in the beginning (hence the amethyst reference). But knowing Emily, I figured it was about love.

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  3. i loveeeeeeee it
    cool beans

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    1. yeah it reminds me of the kardashains

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  4. my husband was looking for a form a few weeks ago and located an online platform that hosts an online forms library . If people are wanting it also , here's a http://goo.gl/8mNmoG

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