Verse > Emily Dickinson > Complete Poems > II. Nature > 19. “I started early, took my dog”
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Emily Dickinson (1830–86).  Complete Poems.  1924.

Part Two: Nature

XIX


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        5
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,        10
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—        15
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.        20
  
Until we met the solid town,
No man he seemed to know;
And bowing with a mighty look
At me, the sea withdrew.

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