Verse > Emily Dickinson > Complete Poems > III. Love > 21. “Your riches taught me poverty”

Emily Dickinson (1830–86).  Complete Poems.  1924.

Part Three: Love


YOUR riches taught me poverty.
Myself a millionnaire
In little wealths,—as girls could boast,—
Till broad as Buenos Ayre,
You drifted your dominions        5
A different Peru;
And I esteemed all poverty,
For life’s estate with you.
Of mines I little know, myself,
But just the names of gems,—        10
The colors of the commonest;
And scarce of diadems
So much that, did I meet the queen,
Her glory I should know:
But this must be a different wealth,        15
To miss it beggars so.
I ’m sure ’t is India all day
To those who look on you
Without a stint, without a blame,—
Might I but be the Jew!        20
I ’m sure it is Golconda,
Beyond my power to deem,—
To have a smile for mine each day,
How better than a gem!
At least, it solaces to know        25
That there exists a gold,
Although I prove it just in time
Its distance to behold!
It’s far, far treasure to surmise,
And estimate the pearl        30
That slipped my simple fingers through
While just a girl at school!


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