Thursday, September 16, 2010
So about this liquor. . .
In Emily Dickinson's poem, "I taste a liquor never brewed", I found quite a few examples of figurative language. She compared several different aspects of nature to alcoholism, and through those comparisons she personified parts of nature to either be the heavy drinkers or the liquor itself. As I read the second stanza, I was reminded of a metaphor towards the sun. She writes that it is an "inebriate of air" and a "debauchee of dew", implying that whatever she's speaking of soaks up the dew from the earth and is surrounded by air. This logically means the sun to me. Also, as it is from "inns of molten blue", the speaker is saying that it is something in the sky. The third stanza took a slightly different course, personifying bees and butterflies. Emily calls the bees drunken after flying "out of the foxglove's door". Because the foxglove is a purple and white flower, it can be assumed that the bees are becoming drunk off of the nectar from the plants they drink. Then, at the end, I pieced all of the little clues together and came up with my own interpretation of this poem. In the final stanza, the speaker writes of seraphs and saints which are both considered to be heavenly beings. Once again, I was struck by the fact that she was referring to objects from above. I started thinking about different elements of nature in the sky, and realized that it made sense for this poem to be about clouds. The very last line, "to see the little tippler, leaning against the sun!", is what gave it away. The only thing that I know of that can soak up moisture and, figuratively speaking, lean against the sun would be clouds. And although it is helped by the sun, the second stanza could easily be about clouds as well. The idea of water being absorbed from the earth is the basis for most of the liquor referred to in this poem. The clouds are the inebriates of nature!