Favourite Forever-Talking Heads-Emily Dickinson

What is—”Paradise”—
Who live there—
Are they “Farmers”—
Do they “hoe”—
Do they know that this is “Amherst”—
And that I—am coming—too—

Death is a Dialogue between
The Spirit and the Dust.
“Dissolve” says Death—The Spirit “Sir
I have another Trust”—

Death doubts it—Argues from the Ground—
The Spirit turns away
Just laying off for evidence
An Overcoat of Clay.

Bereavement in their death to feel
Whom We have never seen —
A Vital Kinsmanship import
Our Soul and theirs — between —

Because I could not stop for Death —
He kindly stopped for me —
The Carriage held but just Ourselves —
And Immortality.

Emily Dickinson
(1830- 1886)
Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, she lived there all her life. She naturally concerned herself with neither past nor present, but with the things that are timeless. A puritan by heart, she was completely divorced from the outward stir of life, retiring, by preference, deeper and deeper within. Her poems are remarkable for their condensation, their vividness of image, their delicate or pungent satire and irony, their childlike responsiveness to experience, their subtle feeling for nature, startling abruptness in dealing with themes commonly regarded as trite, excellence in imaginative insight and still greater excellence in fancy. Typical is such a poem as that in which she celebrates the happiness of a little stone on the road, or that in which she remarks with gleeful irony upon the dignity that burial has in store for each of us—coach and footmen, bells in the village, “as we ride grand along.” Emily Dickinson takes us to strange places; one never knows what is in store. But always she is penetrating and dainty, both intimate and aloof, challenging lively thought on our part while remaining, herself, a charmingly elfish mystery.

Her place in American letters will be inconspicuous but secure.

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