Poem 260: “I’m nobody! Who are you?”

She considered herself as a nobody. She asked the question, who the reader of her poem was. This is poem number 260. This is a poem, that doesn’t seem to be any closer to the truth. For she was Emily Dickinson. A poetess, who made fame after she died and wasn’t definitely a nobody.
She considered herself as a nobody. She asked the question, who the reader of her poem was. This is poem number 260. This is a poem, that doesn’t seem to be any closer to the truth. For she was Emily Dickinson. A poetess, who made fame after she died and wasn’t definitely a nobody.

She considered herself as a nobody. She asked the question, who the reader of her poem was. This is poem number 260. This is a poem, that doesn’t seem to be any closer to the truth. For she was Emily Dickinson. A poetess, who made fame after she died and wasn’t definitely a nobody.

Emily Dickinson (1850)
Emily Dickinson in 1850.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

About the poem

The humble Dickinson at work. She asks the question who the reader is after she introduced herself as the nobody. Is this an accusation for the one reading poem number 260? Or is this her way to tell, that she is just the same as any of us? There isn’t much information to go on since the poem consists only of two stanzas. It isn’t the shortest of her poems, there are poems even shorter than this one.

With all the goals we set out in this life, Dickinson warns us with the line How dreary to be somebody! According to her, becoming or being somebody isn’t a good thing. Her advice: stay simple, stay modest. This will work, eventually.

Poem 260 is given the title I’m nobody! Who are you? This is based on the first sentence of the poem. Dickinson did not give her poems titles.

 

Poem 260: "I'm nobody! Who are you?"

Poem 260 – “I’m nobody! Who are you?”

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish — you know!

How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell one’s name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

— Emily Dickinson

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