Dickinson Response

Dickinson Response

by v_voltaire

original poem (in italics) by Emily Dickinson

::v_voltaire takes the stage:: I don't particularly like poetry, and I don't particularly like Emily Dickinson, but this poem called out to me while I was filing at work and wouldn't leave me alone until I typed it out. It took a lot of work to get it this polished, and I'm still not entirely satisfied, so there may be a "fixed" version in the future. I also have a more humorous short story based on the same idea, but it's in the rough/may-not-be-born stage right now. This poem breaks from my usual style and poses the problem I had with Dickinson's poem—that there are two sides to healing. ::v_voltaire leaves the stage::

If I can stop one heart from breaking,

I'll break my heart for you to mend,

I shall not live in vain;

So you'll not live in vain.

If I can ease one life the aching,

If I cry tears so you may dry them

Or cool one pain,

Or kiss them clean,

Or help one fainting robin

Or close my eyes and stumble

Unto his nest again,

So you might lift me up,

I shall not live in vain.

I shall not live in vain.

I can not love or heal one's wounds;

My heart is tainted and diseased.

But when you give, and when I take,

I see that your own soul is ease.

Your soul is blessed with what I lack,

For Kindness is your greatest gift.

But can you use that gift at all

With no one else to share it with?

Gladly, for you, my purest one,

I'll give myself this searing pain

To gain the coolness of your palm,

And feel your soothing touch again.

For this will ease your pain as well,

And I will not have lived in vain.