“I Meant To Have But Modest Needs”

The themes of death and prayer come up often in Emily Dickinson’s work. Her #476 recounts praying to God only that she might be content and also go to Heaven. She then experiences a feeling of doubt about the Bible verse ,”Whatsoever you asketh, that shall be given you,” renders herself fooled like a child and moves on. Many of her poems reflect the conflicts and doubts she experienced when it came to committing herself to the organized Christian church. Unlike the rest of her devout family who went to church each Sunday, Emily preferred to keep the Sabbath at home.

According to The Emily Dickinson Museum, “Emily Dickinson lived in an age defined by the struggle to reconcile traditional Christian beliefs with newly emerging scientific concepts, the most influential being Darwinism. Dickinson’s struggles with faith and doubt reflect her society’s diverse perceptions of God, nature, and humankind.”

https://www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/emily-dickinson/biography/special-topics/emily-dickinson-and-the-church/

My poem #476 is quite different from Emily’s. It deals with a “first world problem”, the issue of having experienced a higher standard of living and later not feeling inclined to settle for anything less!

2 thoughts on ““I Meant To Have But Modest Needs”

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