Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I lost a World-- the other day!

I lost a World-- the other day!
Has Anybody found?
You'll know it by the Row of Stars
Around it's forehead bound!

A Rich man-- might not notice it--
Yet-- to my frugal Eye,
Of more Esteem than Ducats--
Oh find it-- Sir-- for me!
(F 209)

One of Emily Dickinson's many remarkable gifts is her ability to see worlds and find value in what is unseen or not valued by others. She could see entire worlds in a snowflake or feel the oppression of millions in a beam of light. She found value in the things that society did not, and I think she reveled in that and probably felt at least a bit of superiority over it.

It is interesting to note that in this poem the speaker is unable to find the lost world alone. Built into this poem is a dependence or at least the inability to be independent. Also there is the iconic Dickinson polarity evident. The "rich man" the persona speaks of contrasts directly with the frugal Eye" of the persona. And while the reader would expect the rich man to be quick to spot the valuable world, the speaker is sure that such a person "would not notice" the lost world. While the lost world may be overlooked, the persona is convinced of its dear value of "more esteem than ducats." It is beyond price and holds great intrinsic value. It is of the mind and imagination, beyond the restrictions and attempts at set worth, often materialistic worth, set by society.

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