"I dwell in Possibility"


I dwell in Possibility--
A fairer House than Prose--
More numerous of Windows--
Superior--for Doors--

Of Chambers as the Cedars--
Impregnable of Eye--
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky--

Of Visitors--the fairest--
For Occupation--This--
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise--

This poem is one that I have read over and over again and each time I see something new. I remember reading it as a teenager and wondering what she was trying to say and what it had to do with me anyway. I like the phrase "I dwell in Possibility." This poem has been debated in scholarly circles for years and years. For me it is her confession of her love for Poetry. Possibility is poetry to E.D. She prefers poetry over prose because this "House" has more windows, she can see further and think grander thoughts in poetry than in prose. For Emily, prose was a work of Reason, while poetry was an act of the imagination--possibility.
And like so many poets and authors (prose like myself) she illustrates the need for privacy. "Of Chambers as the Cedars, Impregnable of Eye." She chose to write alone because it is only alone that we can experience "The Gambrels of the Sky." In other words, the roof of the world--God or as Emerson called it the Over-soul.
And then in the last stanza she claims poetry as her occupation. She spreads wide her "narrow Hands" her writing hands and "gathers Paradise."

Wow, what an awesome poem. Read it a few times, let it soak in. Poetry is so important to the world and to the world of the prose author. Do you reach the Sky when you write? I believe E.D. did and it was full of possibilities. What are your Possibilities today. Dwell in them.

2 comments:

Christa Allan said...

Let's see...water baptism? publishing purification? swelling success?

Just trying to make some symbolism happen here.

Pam Halter said...

Thanks for explaining the poem to poetry challenged people like me. :)