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Poem by Emily Elizabeth Dickinson


In Vain


I CANNOT live with you,
It would be life,
And life is over there
Behind the shelf 

The sexton keeps the key to,
Putting up
Our life, his porcelain,
Like a cup 

Discarded of the housewife,
Quaint or broken;
A newer Sevres pleases,
Old ones crack. 

I could not die with you,
For one must wait
To shut the others gaze down, 
You could not.

And I, could I stand by
And see you freeze,
Without my right of frost,
Deaths privilege? 

Nor could I rise with you,
Because your face
Would put out Jesus,
That new grace 

Glow plain and foreign
On my homesick eye,
Except that you, than he
Shone closer by.

Theyd judge us  how?
For you served Heaven, you know,
Or sought to;
I could not, 

Because you saturated sight,
And I had no more eyes
For sordid excellence
As Paradise. 

And were you lost, I would be,
Though my name
Rang loudest
On the heavenly fame. 

And were you saved,
And I condemned to be
Where you were not,
That self were hell to me. 

So we must keep apart,
You there, I here,
With just the door ajar
That oceans are,
And prayer,

And that pale sustenance,
Despair!



Emily Elizabeth Dickinson


Emily Elizabeth Dickinson's other poems:
  1. Belshazzar Had a Letter
  2. New Feet within My Garden Go
  3. Psalm of the Day
  4. Our Share of Night to Bear
  5. Renunciation


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Ella Wilcox In Vain ("The artist looks down on his canvass") 1871

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