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 –
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:|
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.