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Dickinson, Emily: Primary Sources

EMILY DICKINSON: PRIMARY SOURCES

EMILY DICKINSON (POEM DATE 1861?)

SOURCE: Dickinson, Emily. "271." In The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas H. Johnson, pp. 123-24. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1960.

Literary scholars have speculated that the following poem by Dickinson was written circa 1861.

271

A solemn thing—it was—I said—
A woman—white—to be—
And wear—if God should count me fit—
Her blameless mystery—
A hallowed thing—to drop a life
Into the purple well—
Too plummetless—that it return—
Eternity—until—
I pondered how the bliss would look—
And would it feel as big—
When I could take it in my hand—
As hovering—seen—through fog—
And then—the size of this "small" life—
The Sages—call it small—
Swelled—like Horizons—in my vest—
And I sneered—softly—"small"!

EMILY DICKINSON (POEM DATE 1862?)

SOURCE: Dickinson, Emily. "652." In The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas H. Johnson, pp. 324-25. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1960.

Literary scholars have speculated that the following poem by Dickinson was written circa 1862.

652

A Prison gets to be a friend—
Between its Ponderous face
And Ours—a Kinsmanship express—
And in its narrow Eyes—
We come to look with gratitude
For the appointed Beam
It deal us—stated as our food—
And hungered for—the same—
We learn to know the Planks—
That answer to Our feet—
So miserable a sound—at first—
Nor ever now—so sweet—
As plashing in the Pools—
When Memory was a Boy—
But a Demurer Circuit—
A Geometric Joy—
The Posture of the Key
That interrupt the Day
To Our Endeavor—Not so real
The Cheek of Liberty—
As this Phantasm Steel—
Whose features—Day and Night—
Are present to us—as Our Own—
And as escapeless—quite—
The narrow Round—the Stint—
The slow exchange of Hope—
For something passiver—Content
Too steep for looking up—
The Liberty we knew
Avoided—like a Dream—
Too wide for any Night but Heaven—
If That—indeed—redeem—

EMILY DICKINSON (POEM DATE 1862?)

SOURCE: Dickinson, Emily. "657." In The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas H. Johnson, p. 327. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1960.

Literary scholars have speculated that the following poem by Dickinson was written circa 1862.

657

I dwell in Possibility—
A fairer House than Prose—
More numerous of Windows—
Superior—for Doors—
Of Chambers as the Cedars—
Impregnable of Eye—
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky—
Of Visitors—the fairest—
For Occupation—This—
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise—

EMILY DICKINSON (POEM DATE 1863?)

SOURCE: Dickinson, Emily. "712." In The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas H. Johnson, p. 350. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1960.

Literary scholars have speculated that the following poem by Dickinson was written circa 1863.

712

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—

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