Monday, June 11, 2012

Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson

I bought a small collection of the Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson from a book order when I was in high school. During April, I reread this collection to celebrate Emily Dickinson month in the Victorian Challenge. I enjoyed the preface, which gave a brief account of Dickinson, her life, and what is known of her writing the poems.

I loved reading the poems themselves. They are short poems, but yet Dickinson captured the essence of wonder about death, love, and life. I don’t know best how to describe my love for the poems, but I think the poems talk for themselves. A few of my favorite Emily Dickinson poems are below with my brief thoughts.

I think I feel like this every day . . .

I felt a clearing in my mind
As if my brain had split;
I tried to match it, seam by seam,
But could not make them fit.

The thought behind I strove to join
Unto the thought before,
But sequence raveled out of reach
Like balls upon a floor.

I think this was my favorite poem as a teenager. I think everyone knows what it is like to be a nobody.

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us – don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell you name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

I have loved this poem since I was a teenager as well. The last two lines are so well known now. I think it can mean many things to different people. Parting from a romantic love, especially when you are the one left behind. But it can also signify to me at least, losing someone you love through death.

My life closed twice before its close;
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me,

So huge, so hopeless to conceive
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.

Emily Dickinson also wrote a lot of nature poems. I like dandelions and the following poem struck a chord with me.

The Dandelion’s pallid tube
Astonishes the Grass,
And Winter instantly becomes
An infinite Alas –
The tube uplifts a signal Bud
And then a shouting Flower, -
The Proclamation of the Suns
That sepulture is o’er.

As a fan of the written word, I loved this poem about the power of a word.

There is a word
Which bears a sword
Can pierce an armed man.
It hurls its barbed syllables, -
At once is mute again.
But where it fell
The saved will tell
On patriotic day,
Some epauletted brother
Gave his breath away.

Wherever runs the breathless sun,
Wherever roams the day,
There is its noiseless onset,
There is its victory!

Behold the keenest marksman!
The most accomplished shot!
Time’s sublimest target
Is a soul ‘forgot’!

I LOVE the following poem and I think that it describes Emily Dickinson and the power she still has on us. She may have lived a reclusive life and never tried to be in the light of fame, but you can not put her fire out.

You cannot put a fire out;
A thing that can ignite
Can go, itself, without a fan
Upon the slowest night.

You cannot fold a flood
And put it in a drawer, -
Because the winds would find it out,
And tell you cedar floor.

What are you favorite Dickinson poems?

1 comment:

  1. very good one...

    Nature Poems
    Picnics poetry offers a lot of beautiful nature poems so if you want to write your own words you have a lot of sources of inspiration to choose from.