The poem holds no title, but we know this poem as Poem 249 – “Wild Nights – Wild Nights!” It’s a poem written by Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886) and it’s probably one of the most discussed poems she wrote. Why is that?
About this poem
This poem almost didn’t make it into the first collection of poems that was released after Dickinson died. Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd found this poem a little bit too explicit.
What if Emily Dickinson did have relationships with others? Yes, she never married and stayed home for most of her life. What if she would have seen someone? This thought was rather disturbing for the two editors of the first poetry collection.
One of her friends who she might have been romantically involved with could have been a close friend of her father: Otis Philip Lord, an elderly judge (Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Salem). There was an age difference of eighteen years between them and Lord was married when they first met. However, his wife died in 1877.
The problem is that there isn’t any real evidence available for this theory. It seems that Emily’s sister Lavinia, Higginson and Loomis Todd made good efforts to get rid of the most compromising documents. Just like the family of Jane Austen did after she died. Reputation was everything. It was even more important than the truth.
Well, it leaves us with this poem Poem 249 or “Wild Nights – Wild Nights!” Even if you want to rule out any sexual part, there are some questions to answer. For instance: with who does she wanted to spend these wild nights? What about luxury? Well… you decide.
Poem 249 – “Wild Nights – Wild Nights!”
Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
Futile – the winds –
To a Heart in port –
Done with the Compass –
Done with the Chart!
Rowing in Eden –
Ah – the Sea!
Might I but moor – tonight –
— Emily Dickinson