visited the sea
mermaids in the basement
came to look at me
Emily spent the day at the beach.
Emily Dickenson that is.
Emily Dickenson spent the day at the beach and wrote her poem, “I started Early – Took my Dog.”
One poetry website states that in this poem, through these words, Ms Dickenson:
“ . . . reveals a lot about the author and her fear of being close to people.
The author was afraid of being known, and she was afraid of knowing others.
Although she had intense desires to know and be known, her fear trumped those desires, and though she was able to express her desires through this poem, her readers may never know whether she was able to fulfill these desires in reality.”
That is one opinion.
I think maybe she went to the beach with her dog early to get a parking spot and the mermaids in the basement came out to look at her.
Things happen like that here on the beach.
Some see all that that the commenter saw in Ms. Dickenson’s words.
Some see the mermaid.
As Alain de Botton wrote about chair backs in his book, The Architecture of Happiness (2009, Vintage Books);
Consider the struts on the backs of two chairs.
Both seem to express a mood.
The curved struts speak of ease and playfulness, the straight ones of seriousness and logic. And yet neither set approximates a human shape.
Rather, the struts abstractly represent two different temperaments.
A straight piece of wood behaves in its own medium as a stable, unimaginative person will act in his or her life, while the meanders of a curved piece correspond, however obliquely, with the casual elegance of an unruffled and dandyish soul.
The beach is a place of meanders and curves.
Here is the poem.
I started Early – Took my Dog –
And visited the Sea –
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me –
And Frigates – in the Upper Floor
Extended Hempen Hands –
Presuming Me to be a Mouse –
Aground – opon the Sands –
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 –
And made as He would eat me up –
As wholly as a Dew
Opon a Dandelion’s Sleeve –
And then – I started – too –
And He – He followed – close behind –
I felt His Silver Heel
Opon my Ancle – Then My Shoes
Would overflow with Pearl –
Until We met the Solid Town –
No One He seemed to know –
And bowing – with a Mighty look –
At me – The Sea withdrew
With much cheek, I include this haiku in the series based on afternoons spent at the beach on Hilton Head Island.
To include anything inspired by Miss Dickenson with my 17 syllable efforts is perhaps a worlds record for reach.
AND I hate to think what some grad student would write about me if these efforts were ever dissected for myself behind the words.
I wanted to see if I would be ‘inspired’ by what I saw, by what I heard, by what I smelled, by what I tasted, what I felt emotionally and what I felt tactilely.
Some turned out okay.
Some were too forced.
Some were just bad.
Some did involve some or all of those feelings.
As far as it goes, I guess I was inspired by by what I saw, by what I heard, by what I smelled, by what I tasted, what I felt emotionally and what I felt tactilely.