Saturday, November 21, 2009

“I had been hungry, all the Years”

Happy Saturday everyone! It’s been a very hectic week around here, with much of our time spent heading to various places in all the cardinal directions. One more trip later this morning, & then we get to settle down for a few days.

& a good thing, too, because we’re going to have some exciting happenings starting on Monday—as I’ve mentioned, just stay tuned to this channel over the weekend for more news on that, both later today & tomorrow. I will say this is pretty much Eberle’s weekend on Robert Frost’s Banjo, so what better way to start things off than with a poem Eberle suggested for the Weekly Poem series. It’s by Emily Dickinson & is such a marvelous exploration of longing & fulfillment.

Hope you enjoy it, & do stay tuned!

I had been hungry, all the Years

I had been hungry, all the Years—
My Noon had Come—to dine—
I trembling drew the Table near—
And touched the Curious Wine—

'Twas this on Tables I had seen—
When turning, hungry, Home
I looked in Windows, for the Wealth
I could not hope—for Mine—

I did not know the ample Bread—
'Twas so unlike the Crumb
The Birds and I, had often shared
In Nature's—Dining Room—

The Plenty hurt me—'twas so new—
Myself felt ill—and odd—
As Berry—of a Mountain Bush—
Transplanted—to a Road—

Nor was I hungry—so I found
That Hunger—was a way
Of Persons outside Windows—
The Entering—takes away—

Emily Dickinson


  1. I take this as a religious poem in many ways, but perhaps that's just MY upbringing.
    Beautiful. I'm always amazed at her use of the ellipsis.

  2. Hi Kat:

    I do think it is a religious poem, tho generally I also think the "journey" it describes can be understood somewhat more generally as well. It is a beautiful poem!

  3. I continue to marvel at her simplicity of language and depth of thought. No one else comes close to matching her.

  4. Hi Poetikat and John:

    I experience this as a religious poem as well-- a poem about beauty and connection too, maybe beauty and connection in the way that these are, in fact, religion? The poem takes me into such a multifaceted landscape of desire-- a desire for understanding (from outside the window) and for participation (within the house)in what truly satisfies longing-- and finding that both longing and satisfaction exist in complex and changing relationship...

  5. Interesting poem, one of those you need to read two or three times before deciding what is being said. I don't know why but I have a little trouble with the language she uses, all those t'was's leave me somewhat cold.

  6. Hi K & Alan:

    K: I completely agree with you.

    Alan: Ah well, maybe it's not the day for Dickinson in your world! Thanks for giving it a whirl.

  7. The poem is very Catholic, although I would guess that she was not Catholic herself.

  8. Hi K: The sacramental part, absolutely. Dickinson was a Congregationalist, but didn't attend church regularly.

  9. Dickinson is one of my favorites, although when I was young I didn't "get" her at all.

    It's nice that you weighed in, Eberle. You are such a part of this blog, but we seldom hear from you directly in the comments. I think you, Kat, and John have done it for the poem, so I'll just say thanks for posting this one.


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