Emily Dickinson

Twas Like A Maelstrom, With A Notch

poem 414

‘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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