A poem by Emily Dickinson:
We send the Wave to find the Wave—
An Errand so divine,
The Messenger enamored too,
Forgetting to return,
We make the wise distinction still,
Soever made in vain,
The sagest time to dam the sea is when the sea is gone—
What is the meaning of "We make the wise distinction still"? What is "distinction" here? I can't grasp the basic meaning - I don't need a complex interpretation, just the basic meaning.
Basically, I understand it thus:
- We send the wave to find the wave.
Okay, "we make a wave and we are sitting and waiting till it hits another wave and returns".
- An errand so divine.
Okay, let it be divine. Maybe by "wave" the author means some spiritual effort, an effort to understand some other person. Hence, a divine errand. It's hazy, but I get the general feeling.
- The messenger enamored too.
The wave is enamored? It's getting hazier. The wave fell in love with another wave (another person?).
- Forgetting to return.
It fell in love and forgot to return. Okay.
- We make the wise distinction still.
What? Here I crush into a concrete wall. I don't understand this line at all. We sent our wave, it fell in love and forgot to return. But what is "distinction" and how does one "make a distinction"?
- Soever made in vain.
I understand that this relates to "distinction" but that does not help my understanding. "This distinction is always made in vain; there is always no use of this distinction" - but what is "distinction"? Distinguishing two waves between each other? But we did not see our target wave, and the wave we sent got lost.
- The sagest time to dam the sea is when the sea is gone —
Apparently the sea consisted of only two waves. And now that our wave got lost and the first wave was not even seen by us, the sea is gone and we can put a dam on the dry surface.
Maybe there is a plain English explanation of this poem somewhere. I googled but found literary criticism, which does not help. I need at least to grasp the basic meaning.