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The Moon is Distant from the Sea -- Emily Dickinson

Guest poem sent in by Rachel Rein
(Poem #1786) The Moon is Distant from the Sea
 The moon is distant from the sea,
 And yet with amber hands
 She leads him, docile as a boy,
 Along appointed sands.

 He never misses a degree;
 Obedient to her eye,
 He comes just so far toward the town,
 Just so far goes away.

 Oh, Signor, thine the amber hand,
 And mine the distant sea, --
 Obedient to the least command
 Thine eyes impose on me.
-- Emily Dickinson
As the 22nd Dickinson poem on Minstrels, there isn't much left to say about
the formidable woman herself, though I will touch upon the text for a
moment. I was introduced to it while singing an arrangement by David Childs
in a woman's chorale.

I've seen the poem written with a dash in nearly every phrase instead of
commas or periods, though I do not know which version, if either, is the
"correct" one.  I've also heard some say Dickinson was writing about God. I
would broaden the scope to say I believe this poem to be about any strong
male figure, be that father, brother, or a deity. Strong, though, to a
fault; we cannot tell whether the sea wishes to be so conforming, does not
have a choice, or does not know the difference. It is also interesting to
note the gender of the moon and the sea, then the seeming reversal in the
last stanza: the man becomes the formerly feminine moon while Dickinson
becomes the manchild sea. While I do not know what to make of this, I hope
someone will comment and illuminate.

In all, this is one of my favorite Dickinson poems and I'm proud to add it
to the Minstrel archive.

-Rae Rein

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I read this poem when I was at college it is so beautiful and I loved it because there was a men that I liked and he always said to me.

kamagra said...

This poems is so ridiculous, I hate the word "obedient" all around, also this bullshit is boring as hell.

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Sonsoles said...

Dickinson was a strong and independent woman, so as far as I can understand, the moon represents female role (as does in ancient greek and roman mythology, see Selene, for instance) and the sea takes the male role (see Poseidon); these two characters are also strongly related in their representations with animals. For me, the turning of the role of the moon into a male one is representing the growing independence of the women and that they are taking places traditionally allocated to men.

PS: Sorry for my English if there are mistakes =S

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