Come Slowly, Eden!
by Emily Dickinson
Come slowly, Eden!
lips unused to thee,
Bashful, sip thy jasmines,
As the fainting bee,
Reaching late his flower,
Round her chamber hums,
Counts his nectars --enters,
And is lost in balms!
The last time I read Emily Dickinson’s work was in my sophomore year of high school. She hardly capitalized her words. Each word in her poetry meant more than what was apparent to the naked eye. I was a bit overwhelmed by her writing. I put down her poems and decided to take it up in a distant time in the future.
Dickinson did not mind. She was patient. She waited for me.
I came across “Come Slowly, Eden!“ last week. As I was reading the poem, I compared the feelings I had before with the feelings I currently had; I appreciated my growth. The overwhelming feelings were gone, and pure amazement set in.
What I admired most about Dickinson’s work was her brevity coupled with her ability to take the reader’s breath away in spite of it.
In this selection, the speaker bravely asks Paradise (known as Eden in the poem) to take its time in materializing. On a general note, Paradise is the peak of living, of mortality, and is perceived as the ultimate state of being to reach. This concept is acknowledged by the speaker as Eden lives through his or her words. The poem is rampant with active and present-tense verbs. It is to the point that the reader can almost feel the contours of the speaker’s lips, taste/smell the jasmine, hear the buzzing of the bee.
Eden is vibrant, but subtly ominous. The speaker spans from being unused to Eden and ultimately lost. This indicates that Eden (or Paradise) was not what the speaker expected or hoped it would be.
In the period in which this poem was written, Dickinson’s poems are brave, sharp, and acute. She challenges the notions of Paradise and all that it is dreamed up to be. A person either wakes up from a dream or becomes lost in it, as the speaker did in Dickinson’s poem. Is Paradise really the goal? Is Paradise really paradisaical?
Poem Source: http://www.poetry-archive.com/d/come_slowly_eden.html
Image Source: http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/images/GardenOfEden3.jpg