Stanzas (an analytic approach to meta-narratives)
insulted i was,
but then again;
still i am…
–Emily’s response to Shelly
Oh, come to me in dreams, my love!
…I will not ask a dearer bliss;
Come with the starry beams, my love,
…And press mine eyelids with thy kiss.
‘Twas thus, as ancient fables tell,
…Love visited a Grecian maid,
Til’ she disturbed the sacred spell,
…And woke to find her hopes betrayed
But gentle sleep shall veil my sight,
…And Psyche’s lamp shall darkling be,
When, in the visions of the night,
…Thou dost renew thy vows to me.
Then come to me in dreams, my love,
…I will not ask a dearer bliss;
Come with the starry beams, my love,
…And press mine eyelids with they kiss.
It’s not often I find myself talking to ghosts, but if I must, I have to admit I’m not going to spell out every poem ever written. With that said, this one by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley has obliterated any sense of brevity and concise expression captured in 3 lines, as if her ability to drag out what must have taken a few minutes couldn’t be any more obvious.
But enough of my rant, let’s examine this poem that few will read.
The first stanza is a commandment that an unknown character, simply referred to as “my love!” come to the narrator at night, which while unassuming at first, starts to bring to mind either the Sandman or Cupid, who was often erroneously referred to by the name “love” by the Romans, most likely on purpose to hurt a few women’s feelings.
The narrator then goes on to exclaim: “I will not ask a dearer bliss;” thru the second line, which, if you have any knowledge of idiomatic expressions, can quickly be assumed to mean she is not going to ask to be ignorant no longer. While my dear readers may scoff at this assumption, and I have a spiritual hunch it’s a good one, it’s the feeling that Mary was most likely responding to Emily Dickinson, who across the pond in Boston, was bragging thru an unpublished letter that there was a secret man coming to her at night to keep her company.
The hint that gives this secret away is the narrator’s use of “starry beams,” which, if you read our last analysis of a poem, clearly is referencing Dickinson’s poem number 475, in which Emily compared her-ownself to a carpenter. While the beams can be compared to the stretching of light seen in a star when you squint to see them (don’t wear glasses), what seems to confound me is her commandment that this secret love of Dickinson press the narrator’s “eyelids with thy kiss”?
At first, the physical sensation of eyelids being pressed with a kiss isn’t so clear, but after a few readings, I see a vision of a father kissing her eyelids to help her sleep. While comforting at first, what instills a sense of foreboding is the knowledge that eyelids being pressed were usually reserved for an Italian funeral in which a maid’s lids were either kissed by a lover or covered in coins to ward off spirits. Guess money talks, right?
But the more I read the line, I think she’s going back to the metaphor of the stars being seen in her squint. While you might think she’s reinforcing the notion that this lover’s kiss is simply a reinforcement of a star’s beam being felt, I’m getting a hint from the grave that this is a rather crude and perverted joke about seamen and how it looks like these damn “starry beams”.
If she wants her body built with a baby, the tragedy in all of this is that even Dickinson couldn’t achieve this goal of being impregnated a secret love, that or she was a hussy who knew how to hide her damn belly. As much as these secrets can be discovered thru a king or a national archive in France, the truth remains I’m insulted and want my money back!
But go on we must!
Mary, whose plain verbosity makes this poem seem like a dull glance, soon pulls the ol’ Shakespearean trick of using an allegory to the Romans to instill a sense of importance to an otherwise rather simple and drawn-out poem full of, you guessed it, stanzas!.
As she recounts, it was thus that this damn secret love “visited a Grecian maid,” the maid unknown at first, who was fine with her until she “disturbed [a] sacred spell” and found all her “hopes [now] betrayed.” While you may at first read question who this Grecian maid was, the mystery is revealed by the narrator thru the next stanza!, when she references the Grecian character of Psyche, who had relations with Cupid and was spoiled by a bloody break of her own hymen.
As Mary recounts it: “Psyche’s lamp shall darkling be, / when in visions of the night, / …thou dost renew thy vows to me.”
There’s a lot to unpack here, but it’s obvious if you’ve ever read the Good Book that she is referring to Psyche’s own eyes being dark thru the use of the word “lamp,” which Yeshua once famously said is the lampshade to the soul. If Psyche’s eyes shall forever be dark \ when trying to see visions in the night, then I think Mary was basically telling Emilu that she would now find sleep once this secret love came back to Mary instead.
Maybe I’m reaching in assuming she’s referring to Emily as the Grecian made, but as I sit here and type this without an Internet connection on my $350 Cherry Limeade Red laptop from Walmart, I too wonder what time it is in Britain? Perhaps, thru her own obscured and annoyingly clever use of showmanship, she was implying thru a different time zone that she should give this lover Emily had a break. But I digress.
Going back to the previous Stanza!, you won’t believe me at first, but Shelly has not-so maturely spelled out a crude and perverted joke. As we revisit the line “disturbed [a] a sacred spell”, if the narrator is referring to the fable of Psysche and Cupid, whom the latter was known for his own crude and immature sense of humor, she is making a childish and well-known joke about how you pronounce his name, when you gasp, spell it out.
Yes, I and my mentor John Williams, the one and only, are convinced she was saying Psyche broke with tradition by refusing to see you pee, or in Cupid’s case, laugh with him. As I slowly lose my dementia and confusion, I recall thru this insinuation that Cupid probably hurt her when Pysche’s own hymen broke, as that own fable about a woman’s inner anatomy is a lie and a way to comfort smaller teenagers when told they were broken in by a larger man.
For his part, Cupid probably was an asshole who got off to this, and as insulting as this may be to some immature men, was most likely a homosexual. It’s no secret that many gay men have an innate ability to get a man and a woman to fall in love, but the tragedy here is that while Pysche broke this spell of laughter by bursting with pleasure at thought of seeing a man pee, woke with all her hopes betrayed as she probably wet the bed during the night.
What a love that must have been!
My, Emily must have really bragged this secret lover up, but what makes this crude and perverted sense of middle-aged humor even more insulting is the now obvious realization that Shelly is bragging about finding a smaller man to be with, and yes, I am referring to the size of his penis. What a fable that must have been, because as me and my wife Violet, who both work in and own a porn industry we can’t escape, have to simply spell out the obvious: “They’re all big!” [smacks eye emoji]
Yes, if you read the last line of the second Stanza!, which again reads: “And woke to find her hopes betrayed,” you’ll probably begin to get the idea that Emily must have found herself disappointed that this love indeed was not Cupid, who must have been pretty big when erect to make a virgin bleed, but instead a smaller man, who as Mary insists, will provide “gentle sleep on her veiled vision.”
While Mary must have been incapable of seeing what Emily was seeing, perhaps because she needed glasses or a better lamp!, the truth is this is one crude joke about a poet in Boston bragging about a joke involving a cum shot while a “poet” in Britain simply wanted the same response.
Yeah, we get it! You can write a longer poem, Shelly, while Emily was being reduced to lines at this point!
As Emily’s hopes at writing a lyrical ballad were dashed by crude humor from a secret love who couldn’t make her bleed but simply wet the bed, you were bragging about how big your own poems could get, by insisting us Haiku masters go back to the Stanza and forget the 3 lines devoted a distillation of all that is pure and holy!
Fuck the Haiku, you say!
Moral: Be the bigger person, Emily, even if that means being a dick to whoever was hurting you. As she insists poets write with Stanzas, and not just 3 lines or less, she was insisting they be like a homosexual man who knows how to hurt another person’s feelings. Sometimes we care too much, even when we acknowledge we do in fact care.
*editor’s note It’s now been revealed to me thru another inner vision that the eyelid Mary was referring to was probably a crude and perverted visual metaphor about her vagina.
Sources: Wikipedia and inner feelings…