This, and my heart beside—
This, and my heart, and all the fields—
And all the meadows wide—
Be sure you count—should I forget
Some one the sum could tell—
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.
- F 17 (1858)
I find this simple poem quite lovely. Structurally it's simple: hymn / ballad style of alternating tetrameter and trimeter and A B C B rhyme. Within that Dickinson does a couple of neat things. The end rhymes 'tell' and 'dwell' are enhanced by four repetitions of 'all.' This unifies the poem even beyond the three key repetitions of 'This, and my heart.' 'This, and' is a trochee, versus the strictly iambic meter of the rest of the poem. The spoken emphasis on 'This' underscores it, and the following iamb emphasises 'heart.' The 'this' and the heart are the most important offerings the poet brings.
I'd like to think of the 'This' as this poem. It might also be a flower or some other small token. And perhaps it might mean her body in addition to her heart: 'All I have to bring you today is my body and my heart.'
|New England landscape|
Dickinson emphasizes her heart as well. 'I give you this poem and my heart. With them you also get fields, meadows, and bees in the clover.' As usual, Dickinson looks to nature for what is of deep value. She will not elevate a concert or building or human achievement by including them in the list of she gives to a loved one.
The poem has a feather-light touch, however. It begins with an ironic statement: 'all' she brings is her heart and an important chunk of the natural world. 'Be sure you count,' she teases. It's a light-hearted way of saying 'look how much I love you.'