Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Emily


Emily Dickinson was born today in 1830, in Amherst Massachusetts. Self-described as "small, like the wren; and my hair is bold, like the chestnut burr; and my eyes, like the sherry in the glass that the guest leaves," Dickinson was reclusive, cut-off from the townsfolk not least because she was agnostic and never went to church; she found the steady stream of visitors to her widowed father's house, where she lived, "tedious". (Aha! An introvert, too ...)

She wrote more than 1700 poems, and although it took until after her death, she is now regarded as the first great lyric poet of America, and one the great American poets ever.

Martha Dickinson Bianchi wrote of her:

As light after darkness, Summer following Winter, she is inevitable, unequivocal. Evasion of fact she knew not, though her body might flit away from interruption, leaving an intruder to “Think that a sunbeam left the door ajar.”

Herewith a couple of her poems:
AT half-past three a single bird
EXCEPT the smaller size, no Lives are round,
These hurry to a sphere, and show, and end.
The larger, slower grow, and later hang—
The Summers of Hesperides are long.


SO gay a flower bereaved the mind
As if it were a woe,
Is Beauty an affliction, then?
Tradition ought to know.


THE BLUNDER is to estimate,—
“Eternity is Then,”
We say, as of a station.
Meanwhile he is so near,
He joins me in my ramble,
Divides abode with me,
No friend have I that so persists
As this Eternity.



More here

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