I Cannot Live Without You

I CANNOT live with you,
It would be life,
And life is over there
Behind the shelf 

The sexton keeps the key to,
Putting up
Our life, his porcelain,
Like a cup 

Discarded of the housewife,
Quaint or broken;
A newer Sevres pleases,
Old ones crack. 

I could not die with you,
For one must wait
To shut the other’s gaze down, –
You could not.

And I, could I stand by
And see you freeze,
Without my right of frost,
Death’s privilege? 

Nor could I rise with you,
Because your face
Would put out Jesus’,
That new grace 

Glow plain and foreign
On my homesick eye,
Except that you, than he
Shone closer by.

They’d judge us — how?
For you served Heaven, you know,
Or sought to;
I could not, 

Because you saturated sight,
And I had no more eyes
For sordid excellence
As Paradise. 

And were you lost, I would be,
Though my name
Rang loudest
On the heavenly fame. 

And were you saved,
And I condemned to be
Where you were not,
That self were hell to me. 

So we must keep apart,
You there, I here,
With just the door ajar
That oceans are,
And prayer,

And that pale sustenance,
Despair!
 

- Emily Dickinson  

From: Poems by Emily Dickinson Series One 

Edited by two of her friends

Mabel Loomis Todd and T.W. Higginson

 Emily Dickinson Poetry at Amazon.com

Links

(Emily Dickinson Poetry)

(Poems on Love)  (The Great Poets)   (Female Poets)