Monday, December 10, 2012

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:
A TRAIN went through a burial gate,
A bird broke forth and sang,
And trilled, and quivered, and shook his throat
Till all the churchyard rang;

And then adjusted his little notes,
And bowed and sang again.
Doubtless, he thought it meet of him
To say good-by to men.

I REASON, earth is short,
And anguish absolute.
And many hurt;
But what of that?

I reason, we could die:
The best vitality
Cannot excel decay;
But what of that?

I reason that in heaven
Somehow, it will be even,
Some new equation given;
But what of that?

More here


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