Sunday, October 25, 2009

This dirty-- little-- Heart

This dirty-- little-- Heart
Is freely mine--
I won it with a Bun--
A freckled shrine

But eligibility fair
To him who sees
The Visage of the Soul
And not the knees.
(F 1378)

There is a child-like simplicity in this poem, one that looks to the imporant things beyond sraped knees and finds beauty and joy. The opening lines of a "dirty-- little-- Heart" surprise the reader by inverting the reader's expectations. There is no pure heart, no courtly love or lofty intentions. The prize of love is not a magnanimous deed or heroic act, but rather is a "bun"-- common place. Dickinson draws out the theme of love found in the everyday, rooted deeper than appearances.

Love is not based upon looks or first impressions. Perhaps the overlooked knees were dirty from time spent in a hothouse tending plants, or perhaps they were scraped from stumbles while wandering through fields. Love looks beyond these things, peering into the very essences-- the soul. The one who loves peers beyond the superficial and lookes out through the perspective of the core of the one who is loved. To borrow a phrase from a friend: We don't love people because they are beautiful; people are beautiful because we love them.

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