September 1, 2012

Wild Nights to End the Summer

Here's wishing you a few wild nights at this unofficial end of summer.

Wild nights - Wild nights! (269)
By Emily Dickinson

 
Wild nights - Wild nights!
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile - the winds -
To a Heart in port -
Done with the Compass -
Done with the Chart!

Rowing in Eden -
Ah - the Sea!
Might I but moor - tonight -
In thee!


In an explication of the poem, Lilia Melani says: 
"Wild nights! Wild nights!" is a poem of unrestrained sexual passion and rapture. When the 1891 edition of Dickinson's poems was being prepared, Colonel Higginson wrote to his co-editor Mrs. Todd,
One poem only I dread a little to print--that wonderful 'Wild Nights,'--lest the malignant read into it more than that virgin recluse ever dreamed of putting there. Has Miss Lavinia [Emily Dickinson's sister] any shrinking about it? You will understand & pardon my solicitude. Yet what a loss to omit it! Indeed it is not to be omitted.
His comments reflect both the sexual narrowness of his times and the Myth of Emily Dickinson, Virgin Recluse.

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