Emily Dickinson

“After great pain, a formal feeling comes”

After great pain, a formal feeling comes –
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –
The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round –
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought –
A Wooden way
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone –

This is the Hour of Lead –
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow –
First – Chill – the Stupor – then the letting go –

“I heard a Fly buzz–when I died”

I heard a Fly – buzz when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of storm –

The Eyes beside – had wrung them dry –
And breaths were gathering firm
For that last onset – when the king
Be witnessed – in the Room –

I willed my keepsakes – signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –

With blue – uncertain, stumbling buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –

“Because I could not stop for Death”

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 drew 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 – in the Ground –

Since then – ’tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity –

“Tell all the Truth but tell it slant”

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant –
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind –

“Apparently with no surprise”

Apparently with no surprise
To any happy Flower
The Frost beheads it at its play –
In accidental power –
The blond Assassin passes on –
The Sun proceeds unmoved
To measure off another Day
For an Approving God.


Page Last Updated: 15 May 2011