Poet: Emily Dickinson
On a Columnar Self --
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: Published/Written in 1955
Poem of the Day:
Mar 20 2004
Comment 1 of 1, added on October 31st, 2005 at 1:08 PM.
There are many meanings in here, just like most of Dickinson's poetry. A basic paraphrase would be that a person depends on himself and his morals to give him strength in a society where no one else believes in the same things. A group of people and each individual in it are held up by these beliefs, which also prove useful in facing the almighty religious system.
Other thoughts on the poem are that the subject is the reliance on the self, from roots, "granitic base", to groups, "rely/in Tumult". But there is always the fact that the poem can be taken to describe just one person or a large group, as large as the entire Chruch association. Dickinson's use of puns, such as "Rely", and dashes contribute to these possibilities.
I would like to add only a few more thoughts, that "Self" sounds an awful lot like "shelf" but I do not know what that would mean for the poem, maybe that a shelf holds important items that people want to show off, like a person's strong convictions? Also, "extremity" can be an appendage, which is a part of the self that a person depends on. The line "Though none be on our side" suggests that the speaker or speaker's group is a minority in their situation, so the "Suffice Us" could be the speaker asking to be sufficed, or saying that this minority's convictions are good enough for all of the things mentioned in the last stanza.
Jessie from United States
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