Pocket Compass
Emily Dickinson's Nature Mysticism : A Photo Poetic Labyrinth
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Circuit I - (04) Wild Nights! Wild Nights! (J-0249) (F-0269)

(1) Wild nights! Wild nights!    
Were I with thee,
(2) Wild nights should be  
Our luxury!

(3) Futile the winds  
To a heart in port, —
(4) Done with the compass —  
Done with the chart!

(5) Rowing in Eden!  
Ah! the sea!
(6) Might I but moor  
To-night in thee!

(Edited version above as it was first published in
1891. Below: an original manuscript version, without
editing or imposed lineation.)


(1) Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
(2) Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

(3) Futile – the winds –
To a Heart in port –
(4) Done with the Compass –
Done with the Chart!

(5) Rowing in Eden –
Ah – the Sea!
(6) Might I but moor –
tonight –
In Thee!

~ Emily Dickinson

Commentary adapted from Emily Dickinson's Poems & Letters
(1) "It is strange that I miss you at night so much
when I was never with you." ~ (L #645)
(1-6) "An hour is a sea between a few and me. With them
would harbor be!" ~ (J-0825) (F-0898)
(1-6) "Enamored of the parting West — the peace — the flight —
the amethyst — Night's possibility." ~ (J-0106) (F-0161)
(3) "To know that there is a shelter, sometimes dissuades
it's necessity." ~ (L #485)
(3-4) "I never spoke with God, nor visited in heaven; yet certain am  
I of the spot as if the checks [of a chart] were given."
~ (J-1052) (F-0800)
(3-4) "One port suffices for a brig like mine . . . . Ours be the cargo
unladed — here — rather than the 'spicy isles' — and thou —
not there." ~ (J-0368) (F-0410)
(4-comparative, "Fourteener")
"The sailor cannot see the North —
but knows the needle can." ~ (L #265)
(4-6) "It might have been the lighthouse spark some sailor, rowing in
the dark, had importuned to see!" ~ (J-0259) (F-0322)
(5-6) "My garden — like the beach denotes there be —
a sea — that's Summer — such as these — the pearls
she fetches — such as me." ~ (J-0484) (F-0469)
(5-6) "Were the velocity of affection as perceptible as it's
sanctity, day and night would be more affecting." ~ (L #485)
(5-6) "By what mystic mooring she [my bark] is held today — this is
the errand of the eye out upon the bay." ~ (J-0052) (F-0033)
(5-6) "For thee to bloom, I'll skip the tomb and row my blossoms o'er!
Pray gather me — Anemone — thy flower — forevermore!"
~ (J-0031) (F-0007)
(5-6) "Forgive us, if as days decline — we nearer steal to Thee!
Enamored of the parting West — the peace — the flight —
the Amethyst — Night's possibility!"
~ (J-0106) (F-0161)
(5-6 compare) Come slowly —
Eden! Lips unused to Thee —
Bashful — sip thy Jessamines —
As the fainting Bee —

Reaching late his flower,
Round her chamber hums —
Counts his nectars —
Enters — and is lost in Balms.
~ (J-0211) (F-0205)
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