Her breast is fit for pearls,
But I was not a “Diver” —
Her brow is fit for thrones
But I have not a crest.
Her heart is fit for home —
I — a Sparrow — build there
Sweet of twigs and twine
My perennial nest.

Analysis, meaning and summary of the poem by

5 Comments

  1. Londa Wilson says:

    This might not even be a poem about a woman! What if it is about her home? A home so wonderful, regal and superior to the speaker?

  2. frumpo says:

    I give what I can to the one I love.

  3. Matthew says:

    After doing some reading I’ve come up with four good arguements as to whom this poem is addressed.

    1)Her mother:
    Families in the 1800’s hoped that their children would move out, marry, and have children. I believe that this poem could’ve been written to her mother as an appology and a praise. I feel that she might be telling her mother how she feels she has dissapointed the family. I read another poem which states how a daughter bird chose not to leave the mother bird. Any coorelations?

    2)Her sister:
    I feel that this poem could’ve been so easily written to her sister. I feel that Emily could’ve been telling her sister that she deserves better than poor, hermit, Emily. Again, an apology and a praise?

    3)Herself:
    Emily, thouth capable of so much, decided to shut herself up. She internalized her life; lived inside of herself. She ‘selected her own society’. Could she be writing to herself about how she could’ve, should’ve given herself a chance to live and love and learn and lose?

    4)A female lover:
    This poem was written some time after she left college. She did have a special friend, which she did not have many of. Could she’ve been in love with a female friend? This theory is the most vague of all because though homosexuality was present in this time period, it was much rarer and highly frowned upon. So could she, Emily Dickinson, the hermit, have fallen in love with another woman?

    You have to ask yourself:
    Was it to her mother? Her sister? An inward look at herself? Or were there secrets that noone but Emily Dickenson knows?

  4. Carmen says:

    Could be the expression of deep, possibly romantic feelings for another woman.

  5. Caralyn Kathryn says:

    This is a really good poem with a secret message within. It means that she is fit for greatness but ‘I’ could not compare because ‘I’ could not find the pearls (but i was not a diver…)

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