Am I, from symptoms that are past
And Series that are done –
I find my feet have further Goals –
I smile opon the Aims
That felt so ample – Yesterday –
Today's – have vaster claims –
I do not doubt the self I was
Was competent to me –
But something awkward in the fit –
Proves that – outgrown – I see –
Fr674 (1863) J563
This reflection on time and personal growth is written in hymn form. You could sing it to the tune of 'Amazing Grace' (or 'The Yellow Rose of Texas', for that matter). The end rhymes are regular and unremarkable. In fact the 'me' and 'I see' rhymes in the last stanza feel a bit forced. The sentiment is unremarkable. Nevertheless, I like this poem. It is comfortable
and warm, delivering a truth in an easy, contemplative tone. It lacks the twists and startlements that Dickinson is known and loved for, and the conceit of the years running by on feet is somewhat problematic, but I still like the poem.
The problem with the feet is that in the first stanza it is the Years that have the feet, and in the second stanza the feet belong to the speaker. But I shan't quibble. I like that it is the feet that have ambitious goals. And perhaps she is comparing the Years' feet to her own: the former marches on leaving symptoms and Series (events and chains of events) in its wake, knowable things that can be identified and discussed in past, present, and future vantages. Her own feet, however, look strictly to the future, heading out with Goals more vast than those that came before.
The poem ends with an inward turn: Yesterday's self was worthy and sufficient in its time, but it no longer fits. There's something 'awkward' about it, and although the speaker could not prove that the Years had feet, she finds that awkwardness proof that she has outgrown the former self with the simpler Goals.