"I HAD SOME THINGS THAT I CALLED MINE" by Emily Dickinson humorously portrays the speaker's realization that their possession of certain things is challenged by a higher power, likely a reference to God. The poem humorously explores themes of ownership, rivalry, and divine intervention through the lens of a playful legal metaphor. The speaker's resolve to seek justice and the choice of "counsel" add a lighthearted touch to the poem's contemplation of human desires and the idea of divine providence.
I HAD SOME THINGS THAT I CALLED MINE
I had some things that I called mine —
And God, that he called his,
Till, recently a rival Claim
Disturbed these amities.
The property, my garden,
Which having sown with care,
He claims the pretty acre,
And sends a Bailiff there.
The station of the parties
But Justice is sublimer
Than arms, or pedigree.
I'll institute an "Action" —
I'll vindicate the law —
Jove! Choose your counsel —
I retain "Shaw"!
"I HAD SOME THINGS THAT I CALLED MINE" humorously portrays the speaker's realization that their claimed possessions are challenged by a higher power, likely God. The poem uses a playful legal metaphor to explore themes of ownership, rivalry, and divine intervention. The speaker's determination to seek justice and the humorous reference to choosing legal counsel add a lighthearted touch to the contemplation of human desires and divine providence.
The poem begins by introducing the speaker's claim to possession of certain things, which they referred to as "mine." The use of the past tense suggests that the speaker no longer possesses the sense of ownership they once had.
God is humorously portrayed as having his own rival claim to the things that the speaker considered theirs. This implies a rivalry between the speaker and a higher power for ownership.
The "property" in question is the speaker's garden, which they had carefully cultivated. The concept of God claiming "the pretty acre" humorously portrays the divine intervention in human affairs.
The term "Bailiff" refers to a legal officer responsible for executing judgments. The mention of God sending a bailiff to the garden adds a playful and unexpected twist to the poem's legal metaphor.
The poem juxtaposes the station of the parties and the idea that "Justice is sublimer / Than arms, or pedigree." This suggests that the speaker recognizes the higher moral ground held by divine justice, despite any claims or grievances they may have.
The speaker's resolve to "institute an 'Action'" and "vindicate the law" adds a humorous layer to the poem. The mention of choosing counsel, specifically "Shaw," continues the playful legal metaphor.
- Ownership and Divine Providence: The poem humorously explores the theme of ownership and how human claims to possession can be challenged or disrupted by divine intervention or providence.
- Rivalry: The poem portrays a lighthearted rivalry between the speaker and a higher power over ownership and control.
- Humor and Playfulness: The poem employs a playful legal metaphor and humorous language to address serious themes such as divine intervention and human desires.
- Amusement and Surprise: The poem conveys the speaker's amusement and perhaps surprise at the unexpected turn of events where a higher power challenges their claims of ownership.
- Determination: The speaker's resolve to "institute an 'Action'" and seek justice reflects their determination to address the situation.
- Metaphor: The poem uses a legal metaphor to humorously explore themes of ownership, rivalry, and divine intervention.
- Irony: The poem employs irony by juxtaposing the speaker's human claims of ownership with the concept of divine providence and intervention.
How does the poem's playful legal metaphor contribute to its exploration of themes related to ownership, rivalry, and divine providence? How does the choice of legal counsel, "Shaw," add humor to the poem's tone?