'Tis a trifling knowledge —
News-Boys salute the Door —
Carts — joggle by —
Morning's bold face — stares in the window —
Were but mine — the Charter of the least Fly —
Houses hunch the House
With their Brick Shoulders —
Coals — from a Rolling Load — rattle — how — near —
To the very Square — His foot is passing —
Possibly, this moment —
While I — dream — Here —
F537 (1863) J570
Mornings are busy at the Dickinson Homestead. The paper boys "salute" the door (is this a droll way of saying they throw the paper against the door just as they do today?) with the morning news, carts "joggle" by with their loads, coals rattle on and off their conveyance. Meanwhile the morning sun stares in the poet's window and neighboring houses hunch against hers as if hemming her in.
|Coal carts being loaded for delivery|
Amid all this daily hustle and bustle our poet is dreaming of her beloved. She is dying to know where he is right now – trifling knowledge indeed since he is probably on his way to work. She is particularly frustrated because even the "least Fly" could buzz around and find him if it wanted. Alas, as a Victorian woman, she must content herself with dreams. Fortunately this quaint habit of female rectitude has long gone by the wayside.
But Dickinson often prefers to imagine and dream rather than dive into the real. She refused to see Samuel Bowles once when he came calling, despite her likely deep affection for him – and her copious output of letters and poems directed to him. She refused to marry Judge Lord despite a similar deep affection for him. In several previous poems she writes of deferring love and union until some afterlife. (Other times, she admits skepticism that such union would ever take place.) Perhaps most strikingly, she went for about thirteen years without visiting her childhood best friend, sister-in-law, and next door neighbor Sue –a dear beloved despite their fallings out and estrangements – all the while sending her notes and writing poems to and about her.
This is a delightfully vivid poem and Dickinson writes with a light touch. We have the busy-ness of carts and paperboys contrasted with the staring sun and hunching houses with their marvelous "Brick Shoulders". Is the speaker going to go out in the world or hunker down with the hunching and staring? The last line, "While I – dream – Here ¬–" is a clear indication she is going to stay home. The line is drawn out with dashes and long vowels. It is a dreamy, staying-put line, wistful but not unhappy.