Poem 414


Emily Dickinson

'Twas like a Maelstrom, with a notch,

That nearer, every Day,

Kept narrowing its boiling Wheel

Until the Agony

Toyed coolly with the final inch

Of your delirious Hem--

And you dropt,lost,

When something broke--

And let you from a Dream--

As if a Goblin with a Gauge--

Kept measuring the Hours--

Until you felt your Second

Weigh, helpless, in his Paws--

And not a Sinew--stirred--could help,

And sense was setting numb--

When God--remembered--and the Fiend

Let go, then, Overcome--

As if your Sentence stood--pronounced--

And you were frozen led

From Dungeon's luxury of Doubt

To Gibbets, and the Dead--

And when the Film had stitched your eyes

A Creature gasped "Reprieve"!

Which Anguish was the utterest--then--

To perish, or to live?


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