Poem 656 by Emily Dickinson first published posthumously in 1890 with many other poems of hers.
|I started Early – Took my Dog –
And visited the Sea –
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me –
|A woman goes out to look at the sea with her dog. The ocean, it seems, has come out to meet her.
|And Frigates – in the Upper Floor
Extended Hempen Hands –
Presuming Me to be a Mouse –
Aground – upon the Sands –
|Far away there are ships on the horizon and our woman thinks of how small she must look to those ships way out there.
|But no Man moved Me – till the Tide
Went past my simple Shoe –
And past my Apron – and my Belt
And past my Boddice – too –
|Our woman has no man, but the tide, the ocean may act as a man to her. And the tide, the ocean, envelops her. From her shoes, to her apron, all the way up to her neck. She has no man, but here the sea is swallowing our woman up as if the sea longs to be that man for her.
|And made as He would eat me up –
As wholly as a Dew
Opon a Dandelion’s Sleeve –
And then – I started – too –
|And our woman wet, wet as dew. Responds to the sea.
|And He – He followed – close behind –
I felt His Silver Heel
Opon my Ancle – Then My Shoes
Would overflow with Pearl –
|But our woman, having tasted the sea, having been wrapped in its embrace, leaves and leaves with the sheen of the foam on her heels. Our woman leaves by her own volition, this sea which may be as a man to her.
|Until We met the Solid Town –
No One He seemed to know –
And bowing – with a Mighty look –
At me – The Sea withdrew –
|And she walks and continues walking and at last when the woman is gone from the sea’s power it withdraws bowing to her as if they are equals.