Treasure Island

Emily Dickinson

(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886 / Amherst / Massachusetts)

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'Arcturus' is his other name


70

'Arcturus' is his other name—
I'd rather call him 'Star.'
It's very mean of Science
To go and interfere!

I slew a worm the other day—
A 'Savant' passing by
Murmured 'Resurgam'—'Centipede'!
'Oh Lord—how frail are we'!

I pull a flower from the woods—
A monster with a glass
Computes the stamens in a breath—
And has her in a 'class'!

Whereas I took the Butterfly
Aforetime in my hat—
He sits erect in 'Cabinets'—
The Clover bells forgot.

What once was 'Heaven'
Is 'Zenith' now—
Where I proposed to go
When Time's brief masquerade was done
Is mapped and charted too.

What if the poles should frisk about
And stand upon their heads!
I hope I'm ready for 'the worst'—
Whatever prank betides!

Perhaps the 'Kingdom of Heaven's' changed—
I hope the 'Children' there Won't be 'new fashioned' when I come—
And laugh at me—and stare—

I hope the Father in the skies
Will lift his little girl—
Old fashioned—naught—everything—
Over the stile of 'Pearl.'

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003
Edited: Wednesday, September 03, 2014

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  • Angelina Holmes (5/3/2014 8:48:00 AM)

    Arcturus is the 4th brightest star and the brightest star in the constellation Bootes,36 light-years from Earth. I find it lovely that she writes about such a star :)

    Nice personification too (Report) Reply

  • Barucn Atta (8/28/2013 11:08:00 AM)

    I started with a read of Books.
    But couldn't finish that Trip.
    So I tried some stories Short.
    The Suspect gave me the Slip.
    Now that I am retired and Old
    It's Poetry that makes me Snort.
    Really. (Report) Reply

  • Henry Norton (11/20/2012 4:26:00 PM)

    I don't think this is one of her better poems, simply because you don't have to work very much to understand it. Images and metaphors are obvious, (Report) Reply

    Frank Avon (9/1/2014 2:09:00 AM)

    I agree that this is probably not one of her better poems, but I don't think having to work hard to understand a poem should be a criterion of its effectiveness. I think it may have been William Carlos Williams who lamented that modernist poems were confining poetry to schoolrooms. I fear that far too many modern poems are written by poets for other poets. Poets are published, given awards, and hired for positions in colleges and universities because the editors, judges, and wirters of letters of recommendation tend to be other poets, writing similar works, holding similar positions.

    Of this particular poem, I would say rather that its is not as coherent nor as thought-provoking of some of her other work; nevertheless, I like the poem and find the subject matter of current interest.

  • Kevin Straw (9/1/2012 10:31:00 AM)

    She is wrong about Heaven being charted. If Heaven is anywhere it is beyond science to chart. If science is at odds with religion where does it come from - the Devil? Is discovery God's work or Satan's. I think the last two verses are a bit twee. (Report) Reply

  • Jacob Arden (9/1/2012 8:12:00 AM)

    In the battle between - carrying on the tradition of Religion and the existence of God and embracing Agnostic theology as scientific discoveries, which in her thoughts failed neither to prove nor disprove his existence. I could've swore this poem was written yesterday, what an amazing piece. Pardon my modest comment I am just an infant to poetry (Report) Reply

  • Stevie Taite (9/1/2012 7:32:00 AM)

    And I think that she was not totally convinced about an existence of god! Zenith gave this away! But still was hedging her bets as science cannot disprove nor prove it! (Report) Reply

  • Stevie Taite (9/1/2012 7:26:00 AM)

    I see this a a timeless piece, that could have been written today. Pearl means pearly gates? She has studied gods good earth and oh the life she has sacrificed to understand it. She is not old fashioned but inquisitive. Kids of our age are often too wrapped up in technology to notice or care for it! This his how this has stood as timeless for me! (Report) Reply

  • Arushi Thakur (9/1/2012 1:06:00 AM)

    I respect this great writer and i am thankful to get a membership at poem hunter to look at these all poems which give me true confidence (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (9/1/2010 2:24:00 AM)

    Scientific matter expressed in poetry is not so interesting usually! But this poem is an exception in this regard! (Report) Reply

  • Bryce Edward Coast (9/1/2009 11:16:00 AM)

    Always interesting to read her poems and try to understand the mysterious, solitairy life that was. She expressed so much on paper studying the outside
    world from her window of imagination. Of course she wasn't always behind that glass... anyway u rock ED (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Poewhit (9/1/2009 6:20:00 AM)

    Kind of puts things in there place on earth. Then aspires to GOD and heaven, for eternal love as a child. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (9/1/2009 5:44:00 AM)

    A rather silly anti-science poem. Has there been a time in history when nature has not been dissected and observed to benefit mankind? (Report) Reply

  • Adam Sobh (4/10/2009 11:47:00 AM)

    I'm doing a project on Emily Dickinson for my 11th grade American Literature class, and i need to find a poem by Miss Emily Dickinson and then analyze it, i chose this poem, but i don't really understand it, so if anybody could please explain it to me and help me to better understand it, i would be extremely grateful. (Report) Reply

  • okeydokey #3 (1/14/2008 3:26:00 AM)

    ...thank you Michael Shepherd...i could barely read all of it...correctly...a more accurate copy...would do fine... (Report) Reply

Read all 23 comments »

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