“My life had stood -a Loaded Gun-“

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Though I than he–may longer live

He longer must—than I—

For I have but the power to kill,

Without–the power to die–

Emily Dickinson

“She experiences in herself as energy and potency call also be experienced as pure destruction. The final stanza, with its precarious balance of phrasing, seems a desperate attempt to resolve the ambivalence; but, I think, it is no resolution, only a further extension of ambivalence.”, Adrienne Rich. From “Vesuvius at Home: The Power of Emily Dickinson.” Reprinted in On Lies, Secrets, and Silences. (W.W. Norton, 1979). Modern American Poetry.

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