love poem-emily dickinson

In Vain
I cannot live with you,
It would be life,
And life is over there
Behind the shelf

I could not die with you,
For one must wait
To shut the other’s gaze down,
You could not.

And I, could I stand by
And see you freeze,
Without my right of frost,
Death’s privilege?

we must keep apart,
You there, I here,
With just the door ajar
That oceans are,
And prayer,
And that pale sustenance,
Despair!

Emily Dickinson

This poem has been praised as her best love poem and may well be her most famous love poem. In this heavily ironic poem, the final expression and measure of the intensity of her love is her despair at the lovers having to remain apart.The poem is organized by the various lives they can’t share: they can’t live together in this world; they can’t die together; they can’t rise after death together; they can’t be judged by God together, whether destined for heaven or not. All they can do is maintain the possibility of communication (the partially open door), though “oceans” apart. Prayer or God offers no comfort or hope; all they have is the “pale sustenance” (not a nourishing food), which is despair.
This poem has an alternate reading: she rejects him to write poetry.