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Katie ([personal profile] themadmaiden) wrote2016-12-15 09:21 pm
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Emily Dickinson Poetry

Emily Dickinson

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

I like a look of Agony,
Because I know it's true -
Men do not sham Convulsion,
Nor simulate a Throe -

The eyes glaze once - and that is Death -
Impossible to feign
The Beads open the Forehead
By homely Anguish strung

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading - treading - till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through -

And when they all were seated,
A Service like a Drum -
Kept beating - beating - till I thought
My mind was going numb -

And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space - began to toll,

As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race
Wrecked, solitary, here -

And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down -
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing - then -

The first Day's Night had come -
And grateful that a thing
So terrible - had been endured -
I told my Soul to sing -

She said her strings were snapt -
Her Bow - to atoms blown -
And so to mend her - gave me work
Until another Morn -

And then - a Day as huge
as Yesterdays in pairs,
Unrolled it's horror in my face -
Until it blocked my eyes -

My Brain - begun to laugh -
I mumbled - like a fool -
And tho' 'tis Years ago - that Day
My Brain keeps giggling - Still

And Something's odd - within -
That person that I was -
And this One - do not feel the same -
Could it be Madness - this?

I was the slightest in the House -
I took the smallest Room -
At night, my little Lamp and Book -
And one Geranium -

So stationed I could catch the mint
That never ceased to fall -
And just my Basket -
Let me think - I'm sure
That this was all -

I never spoke - unless addressed -
And then, 'twas brief and low' -
I could not bear to live - aloud -
The Racket shamed me so -

And if it had not been so far -
And any one I knew
Were going - I had often thought
How noteless - I could die -

This is my letter to the World
That never wrote to Me -
The simple News that Nature told -
With tender Majesty

Her Message is committed
To Hands I cannot see -
For love of Her - Sweet - countrymen
Judge tenderly - of Me

I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, eyes -
I wonder if It weighs like Mine -
Or has an Easier size -

I wonder if They bore it long -
Or did it just begin -
I could not tell the Date of Mine -
It feels so old a pain -

I wonder if it hurts to live -
And if They have to try -
And whether - could They choose between -
It would not be - to die -

I note that Some - gone patient long -
At length, renew their smile -
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil -

I wonder if when Years have piled -
Some Thousands - on the Harm -
That hurt them Early - such a lapse
Could give them any Balm -

Or would They go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve -
Enlightened to a larger Pain -
In Contrast with the Love -

The Grieved - are many - I am told -
There is the various Cause -
Death - is but one - and comes but once -
And only nails the Eyes -

There's Grief of Want - and Grief of Cold -
A sort they call "Despair" -
There's Banishment from native Eyes -
In sight of Native Air -

And though I may not guess the kind -
Correctly - yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary

To note the fashions - of the Cross -
And how they're mostly worn -
Still fascinated to presume
That Some - are like my own

There is a Languor of the Life
More imminent than Pain -
'Tis Pain's Successor - When the Soul
Has suffered all it can -

A Drowsiness - diffuses -
A Dimness like a Fog
Envelopes Consciousness -
As Mists - obliterate a Crag

The Surgeon - does not blanch - at pain
His Habit - is severe -
But tell him that it ceased to feel -
The Creature lying there -

And he will tell you - Skill is late -
A Mightier than He -
Has ministered before Him -
There's no Vitality

A Secret told -
Ceases to be a Secret - then -
A Secret - kept -
That - can appall but One -

Better of it - continual be afraid -
Then it -
And Whom you told it to - beside -

Pain - has an Element of Black -
It cannot recollect
When it begun - Or if there were
A time when it was not -

It has no Future - but itself -
It's Infinite contain
It's Past - enlightened to perceive
New Periods - Of Pain

Pain - expands the Time -
Ages coil within
The minute Circumference
Of a single Brain -

Pain contracts - the Time -
Occupied with Shot
Gammuts of Eternities
Are as they were not -

Purple - is fashionable twice -
This season of the year,
And when a soul perceives itself
To be an Emperor

Could I but ride indefinite
As dothe the Meadow Bee
And visit only where I liked
And no one visit me

And flirt all Day with Buttercups
And marry whom I may
And dwell a little everywhere
Or better, run away

With no Police to follow
Or chase Him if He do
Till He should jump Peninsulas
To get away from me-

I said "But just to be a Bee"
Open a Raft of Air
And row in Nowhere all Day long
And anchor "off the Bar"

What Liberty! So captives deem
Who tight in Dungeons are.

How happy I was if I could forget
To remember how sad I am
Would be an easy adversity
But the recollecting of Bloom

Keeps making November difficult
Till I who was almost bold
Lose my way like a little Child
And perish of the cold.

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry -
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll -
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul -

While we were fearing it, it came -
But came with less of fear
Because that fearing it so long
Had almost made it fair -

There is a Fitting - a Dismay -
A Fitting - A Despair -
'Tis harder knowing it is Due
Then knowing it is Here

The Trying on the Utmost
The Morning it is New
Is terribler than wearing it
A whole existence through -


It was not Death, for I stood up,
And all the Dead, lie down—
It was not Night, for all the Bells
Put out their Tongues, for Noon.

It was not Frost, for on my Flesh
I felt Siroccos—crawl—
Nor Fire—for just my Marble feet
Could keep a Chancel, cool—

And yet, it tasted, like them all,
The Figures I have seen
Set orderly, for Burial,
Reminded me, of mine—

As if my life were shaven,
And fitted to a frame,
And could not breathe without a key,
And ’twas like Midnight, some –

When everything that ticked—has stopped—
And Space stares—all around—
Or Grisly frosts—first Autumn morns,
Repeal the Beating Ground—

But, most, like Chaos—Stopless—cool—
Without a Chance, or Spar—
Or even a Report of Land—
To justify—Despair.

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