Emily Dickinson's Collected Poems

Part Three: Nature 19. I started early, took my dog


I started early, took my dog,

And visited the sea;

The mermaids in the basement

Came out to look at me,

And frigates in the upper floor

Extended hempen hands,

Presuming me to be a mouse

Aground, upon the sands.

But no man moved me till the tide

Went past my simple shoe,

And past my apron and my belt,

And past my bodice too,

And made as he would eat me up

As wholly as a dew

Upon a dandelion's sleeve --

And then I started too.

And he -- he followed close behind;

I felt his silver heel

Upon my ankle, -- then my shoes

Would overflow with pearl.

Until we met the solid town,

No man he seemed to know;

And bowing with a mighty look

At me, the sea withdrew.