Monday, May 23, 2011

More Poems From Emily Dickinson

In a few hours, we'll be leaving for Annapolis for my sister-in-law's funeral.  It's going to be a long afternoon but I hope I can be of some comfort and support, if to no one else, my husband, whose birthday it is today.   In lieu of a post, I thought I'd reprint a few more Emily Dickinson poems on death. Although I like these, the one that I published last week is my favorite.

I read something very interesting about Miss Dickinson a short while ago.  There is some speculation she may have been autistic.  She never left her house, or "the homestead" as she called it, after the age of 26.

I can totally relate.

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.
We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.
Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.
We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.
Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

There's been a death in the opposite house
As lately as today.
I know it by the numb look
Such houses have alway.

The neighbours rustle in and out,
The doctor drives away.
A window opens like a pod,
Abrupt, mechanically;

Somebody flings a mattress out, -
The children hurry by;
They wonder if It died on that, -
I used to when a boy.

The minister goes stiffly in
As if the house were his,
And he owned all the mourners now,
And little boys besides;

And then the milliner, and the man
Of the appalling trade,
To take the measure of the house.
There'll be that dark parade

Of tassels and of coaches soon;
It's easy as a sign, -
The intuition of the news
In just a country town.



  1. The Lord will use you mightily, Joyce because of your love for Him. They will see Jesus in your face...and hear Him in your voice, though they may not yet recognize who it is trying to comfort them...
    Prayers for His mercies to your loved ones today.
    I decided in high school, Emily was a 'kindred spirit'
    +PAX and blessings always.

  2. Those are both good poems. I like the one from last week better too. I hadn't heard she may have been autistic, but that might fit. She definitely had some sort of issue. She seems like a good soul. Funerals are not pleasant.


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