I Used to Think

By Trumbull Stickney 1874–1904 Trumbull Stickney
I used to think
The mind essential in the body, even
As stood the body essential in the mind:
Two inseparable things, by nature equal
And similar, and in creation’s song
Halving the total scale: it is not so.
Unlike and cross like driftwood sticks they come
Churned in the giddy trough: a chunk of pine,
A slab of rosewood: mangled each on each
With knocks and friction, or in deadly pain
Sheathing each other’s splinters: till at last
Without all stuff or shape they ’re jetted up
Where in the bluish moisture rot whate’er
Was vomited in horror from the sea.

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Trumbull Stickney 1874–1904

Subjects Nature, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, The Body

Poetic Terms Metaphor, Imagery, Sonnet

 Trumbull  Stickney

Biography

Trumbull Stickney is best remembered as a promising young poet and scholar who died before his work could fully mature. As William Payne described his poems in a 1906 review for Dial: "Promise rather than fulfillment is the mark of this work as a whole, for it reveals Stickney as still groping for a distinctive manner rather than as having reached a definitive expression of his powers." A brilliant scholar and enthusiastic poet, . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, The Body

Poetic Terms Metaphor, Imagery, Sonnet

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.