Happy Birthday, Emily Dickinson!
December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886



daguerreotype taken at Mount Holyoke, December 1847 or early 1848
the only authenticated portrait of Emily Dickinson later than childhood


Nature, the gentlest mother,
Impatient of no child,
The feeblest or the waywardest,
Her admonition mild


In forest and the hill
By traveller is heard,
Restraining rampant squirrel
Or too impetuous bird.


How fair her conversation,
A summer afternoon,
Her household, her assembly;
And when the sun goes down


Her voice among the aisles
Incites the timid prayer
Of the minutest cricket,
The most unworthy flower.


When all the children sleep
She turns as long away
As will suffice to light her lamps;
Then, bending from the sky


With infinite affection
And infiniter care,
Her golden finger on her lip,
Wills silence everywhere.





Click here for a listing of all sorts of cool Emily Dickinson links








Currently reading :
Final Harvest: Poems
By Emily Dickinson
Release date: 30 January, 1964


The following comments were left when I originally posted this on MySpace.  To add a new comment, please scroll all the way to the bottom.















You cannot put a Fire out-
A Thing that can ignite
Can go, itself, without a Fan-
Open the slowest night-

You cannot fold a Flood-
And put it in a Drawer-
Because the Winds will find it out-
And tell your Cedar Floor.


Posted by Susannah Dean on December 9, 2007 – Sunday at 10:54 PM









Jesus Crisis







Very nice! One of my favorites…. Thank you.


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 9, 2007 – Sunday at 10:56 PM









Susannah Dean







me too.


Posted by Susannah Dean on December 9, 2007 – Sunday at 10:58 PM









Elizabeth Mitchell







Happy Birthday to her! She had a way with words.


Posted by Elizabeth Mitchell on December 9, 2007 – Sunday at 10:58 PM









Jesus Crisis







She certainly did. Here’s my Emily favorite:

“To see a Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a book it lie.
True poems flee.”


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 9, 2007 – Sunday at 11:04 PM









Working Class Hero







“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold
no fire ever can warm me I know that is poetry.
If I feel physically as if the top of my head were
taken off, I know that is poetry.”

Emily Dickinson


Posted by Working Class Hero on December 9, 2007 – Sunday at 11:50 PM









Jesus Crisis







Excellent! I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before, and I love it! I’m assuming it’s from one of her letters. Anyway, thank you very much for posting this, WCH.


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 8:29 AM









Smith







“If … it makes my whole body so cold no fire ever can warm me I know that is poetry…If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.”

this quote i like. unfortunately this is more poetic than i find her actual poetry. every time i read her, i think i’ve got an american greeting card in my hands.

i know she must have something because all my real poet friends swoon over her. to me, she’s a life thought, not lived.

so here, i be heretic.


Posted by Smith on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 9:00 AM









Jesus Crisis







Heretic or no, I think your words “a life thought, not lived” are a poem in themselves and an excellent brief biography of Emily.


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 9:04 AM









Elena







What an interesting blog! It reminds me of a professor of English and the Chair of the Humanities Program at Oberlin, Warren Taylor, who will long be remembered for his love of poetry. The last time I heard him talk was when my husband inherited the Humanities Program and invited Warren to give one of his special lectures after he had retired. It was on Emily Dickinson, the lonely and reclusive poet who was mostly published after her death. Yes, it was a life of thought, but lived her life in seclusion. Here is a poem I picked from Warren Taylor’s book, “Poetry in English,” a book that I treasure since it has this written on the front page: “For Helen and Sanford, in highest esteem, Warren.”

Elysium Is as Far

Elysium is as far as to
The very nearest Room
If in that Room a Friend await
Felicity or Doom

What fortitude the Soul contains,
That it can so endure
The accent of a coming Foot–
The opening of a Door– (c. 1882)

And at the end of her life Emily lived behind doors, not even coming out for her father’s memorial service. So much of her poetry contains thoughts of death…but also of nature and flowers. Here is one of my favorites:

Wild Nights–Wild Nights
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile–the Winds–
To a Heart in port–
Done with the Compass–
Done with the Chart

Rowing in Eden–
Ah, the Sea!
Might I but moor–Tonight–
In Thee! (c. 1861)


Posted by Elena on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 10:10 AM









Jesus Crisis







She “lived her in life in seclusion.” Good point! I think you’re both right. She never really got out and lived – and I believe that in some ways her poetry would have benefitted if she’d done so. But then again, in another sense, she did live, albeit in seclusion – and without such a life (or lack of life, depending on your perspective), her work would not as unique as it is. And her uniqueness is one of the qualities I find most engaging about Emily Dickinson. That said, I think her desire for seclusion came from a knowledge that as a woman in her era and “world,” she could never feel free to be real as a public or social being. Regrettably, she could only be herself at home, and not even always then.


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 10:26 AM









Art of Gilead (aka Spud)







I for one would put her in league with Frost anyday


Posted by Art of Gilead (aka Spud) on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 12:11 AM









Jesus Crisis







Two fine and quintessentially American poets….

Thank you, Art!


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 8:31 AM









Smith







more heresy. i have read some decent frost, but no great. again, i think of greeting cards. guess i’m just not with the flow on these two. i think perhaps i need a bit of edge and spice and not so nice.


Posted by Smith on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 9:16 AM









shady lady







You, Mr. Smith… I was thinking about what I used to think of you before I really knew you. I was slightly frightened. Amazing that your poems’ words could frighten me – I thought you lived a hedonist’s life – knew nothing of your kindness until I read the things you wrote about your mother’s death.

This was one poem that really scared me:

Fertile Lies

Small particles of truth lace love’s lies

Peeping one-eyed cat’s seafood stores
Mount used two love carnivore rides
Cast past sated loss

Self to self slip service schemes for the day
Emasculation Mama stiff with semen
Screams dreams porta piss shit machine
Message me to mine

Bile regenerative truth du jour:
loving spoonful’s
pearl jam
nirvana
to my hole

– Smith


Posted by shady lady on December 11, 2007 – Tuesday at 8:01 AM









Jesus Crisis







That is definitely “jam” packed with “edge and spice and not so nice.” But I have to say I love it. Reminds me of Ginsberg….

Thanks for posting it here.


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 11, 2007 – Tuesday at 9:14 AM









Jesus Crisis







For many years I was not too fond of Frost, who I viewed as sappy and commercial, until I was forced to study him for a 20th century American poetry distance learning course I took through Ohio University while in prison. While my appreciation of his work has increased as a result, I still find myself tending to gravitate toward “edge and spice” if given my druthers.

Here’s a Frost quotation relevant to our previous blog discussions:

“A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.”


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 10:11 AM









Elena







Frost may not have the spiciness of other poets but this quotation of his brings a real chuckle after the last two days of blogging. It hits me like the spiciest not pepper. Frost is cool! Not cold!


Posted by Elena on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 12:22 PM









Smith







in spite of my heresy, i do want to say that although i do not aoppreciate the poetry of dickenson and frost, i do rejoice that they wrote poetry. i honor and admire that they cared anough to contribute.

overly sweet poetry is better than no poetry at all.


Posted by Smith on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 11:00 AM









Jesus Crisis







I agree! And they helped popularize poetry – which I guess has been a two-edged sword, opening doors for good and bad poets alike. But I think the popularization of poetry is (in the big picture) much more a good thing than a bad thing.


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 11:05 AM









CEGGY







She’s a sagitarius.They have big hearts and are lots of fun to be around.


Posted by CEGGY on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 12:28 AM









Elena







I just called and made contact with my Aunt Ellen, also also born on December 8th. I wished her a happy birthday at AGE 104!! Isn’t that amazing? She was a missionary in Africa when she was young then later founded a school on Long Island. She does have a big heart and still tries to be fun at her age.


Posted by Elena on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 10:46 AM









Jesus Crisis







A bushel of kudos to Aunt Ellen!


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 10:57 AM









Jesus Crisis







According to Jim Morrison, another Sagittarius (whose birthday was December 8th), that’s “the most philosophical of the signs”….

Thanks, Ceggy!


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 8:35 AM









CEGGY







Dec.8th is my daughters birthday I’ll have to tell her she shares it with Jim Morrison,She might think thats cool ……..who knows with teens.I think it’s cool.


Posted by CEGGY on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 10:29 AM









Jesus Crisis







Definitely! I like that I share a birthday with one of my favorite American poets, William Carlos Williams. But Jim Morrison in some ways seems cooler… lol.


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 10:37 AM









Jane







“Nature” is what we see—
The Hill—the Afternoon—
Squirrel—Eclipse—the Bumble bee—
Nay—Nature is Heaven—
Nature is what we hear—
The Bobolink—the Sea—
Thunder—the Cricket—
Nay—Nature is Harmony—
Nature is what we know—
Yet have no art to say—
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity.

Emily Dickinson


Posted by Jane on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 12:30 AM









Jesus Crisis







Another of my favorite Emily poems, and the perfect companion to “Nature, the gentlest mother”…. I especially love the lines “Nature is what we know– / Yet have no art to say–.”

Thank you, Jane!


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 9:07 AM









ed







She does not suck at all! Good blog!


SUCCESS IS COUNTED SWEETEST

by: Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

SUCCESS is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple host
Who took the flag to-day
Can tell the definition,
So clear, of victory,

As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Break, agonized and clear.


Posted by ed on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 5:25 AM









Jesus Crisis







Ah, yes… and very true, I think.

Thank you for sharing this, Ed!


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 9:08 AM









Tropic Of Panzer







I knew I could count on you to post this. Emily has always been one of my dearest poets. Excellent post!


Posted by Tropic Of Panzer on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 6:01 AM









Jesus Crisis







Thank you, my friend! I had intended to do something for Jim’s birthday a couple of days ago, too, but was distracted by more pressing matters. However, I was determined not to miss Emily. Two things that most impress me about her beyond her writing: she was completely original, and largely because of her work women’s poetry has come to be taken every bit as seriously as men’s poetry.

By the way, Dex, I just recently stumbled across one of your photographs that appeared in ArtCrimes 21. Well done!


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 9:19 AM









Rune Warrior







Well, I’m not a big poetry person… I like it, but I’m just not as familiar with it as other things. So I’ve stopped by to read and learn and enjoy. And since people are posting their favorite Emily poems it’s a great place to get the flavor of it all. So thanks. Do you have any interesting Emily Dickinson facts you can share with the rest of us peons?
Thanks again.

Chris


Posted by Rune Warrior on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 9:19 AM









Jesus Crisis







Thanks, Chris!

Fewer than a dozen of her poems were published in her lifetime (out of nearly two thousand). She probably had no idea how famous and well-regarded her work would become. She never married, led a fairly secluded life, and got her younger sister to agree to destroy all her writings after her death. Fortunately, her sister recognized the worth of her work and did not keep that promise.


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 10:35 AM









ed







she was humble to say the least; bordering on an inferiority complex


Posted by ed on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 11:37 AM









Rune Warrior







Well thanks for sharing that. I know she is among my husbands favorite poets. So thanks for the short bio….


Posted by Rune Warrior on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 11:45 AM









Jesus Crisis







You’re welcome!


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 1:42 PM









Chibochick and her inner Diva







I want to be the impetuous bird. For some reason that line stuck out for me. Thanks for sharing this with us JC! Poetry speaks when nothing else seems to fit.


Posted by Chibochick and her inner Diva on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 1:04 PM









Jesus Crisis







Thank you, Chi! I agree.

Sometimes I feel like the “rampant squirrel.” (-;


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 1:58 PM









Elena







Do you feel like the “rampant” squirrels I saw the other day? Running toward each other on the high electric wires above my back yard one jumped right over the other and landed on the wire
behind his buddy. It was an electrifying sight. Better than the circus. Bet you couldn’t do that!!
I also like “the timid prayer of the minutest cricket.”


Posted by Elena on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 8:01 PM









Jesus Crisis







Yes, but I’ll pass on the high wire. I’m a tad afraid of heights!


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 9:45 PM









LisaTx65







Very nice indeed, I love her work.


Posted by LisaTx65 on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 1:32 PM









Jesus Crisis







Thank you, Lisa!


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 1:44 PM









doc







Nature is my god


Posted by doc on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 1:36 PM









Jesus Crisis







You remind me of something Lawrence Clarkson, one of the English Ranters, said:

“What act soever is done by thee in light and love, is light and lovely… if that within thee do not condemn thee, thou shalt not be condemned.”


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 1:56 PM









doc







sweet!!


Posted by doc on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 4:56 PM









Russell







Nice!!

Peace


Posted by Russell on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 4:55 PM









Jesus Crisis







Thanks, Russell!

Peace to you as well!


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 4:57 PM


[A comment by Euryale here disappeared when her MySpace profile was deleted.]









Jesus Crisis







Another one I love… “Judge tenderly of me” seems particularly appropriate, given what I’ve been blogging about lately. Thank you, Euryale!


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 9:17 PM







shyloh







This Is My Letter To The World

This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me,–
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.
Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!

~Emily Dickinson~


Posted by shyloh on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 6:51 PM















Thank you, Shyloh!

Strange how my friends are picking all my favorites… lol.

“This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me.”

I used to feel that way quite a bit.

But with friends like you
I feel written to…

In a manner transcending words.


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 9:33 PM









CONNIE







This has always been a favorite of mine.

IF I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.


This writer of poetry is so moving. He inspires me. I hope you have visited his profile.


humble beginnings by dodinsky


Posted by CONNIE on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 7:00 PM









Jesus Crisis







I’ve been to Dodinsky’s site, and I’ve liked some of his work quite a bit; but I’ve never gotten back there to check out more. I certainly shall now.

As far as the Dickinson poem you’ve contributed, I think that it’s an excellent mantra to adopt. If more of us would make these words our own, the world would be a much richer and more peaceful place.

Thank you, Connie!


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 9:40 PM









Alicia Billings







Nice blog! Here’s my favorite Emily Dickinson poem:

I Had no time to hate

I had no time to hate, because
The grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.
Nor had I time to love; but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me.


Posted by Alicia Billings on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 8:21 PM









Jesus Crisis







Perfect! I had forgotten about this one, which is a shame.

This poem is holy to me… the gospel according to Emily. (-;

Thank you, Alicia!


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 9:44 PM


[A comment by Lori here disappeared when her MySpace profile was deleted.]










Jesus Crisis







I agree, Lori! And thank you!


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 10, 2007 – Monday at 9:41 PM









She Who Would Prevail







Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I ’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

This was the very first poem of Emily Dickinson that I ever learned… I memorized it for a poetry reading in English class in 4th grade. No one in the class had any idea what it meant, except for my wonderful teacher… turned out it was one of her favorite poems and her favorite poet, and she loaned me her own beautiful leather-bound copy of Dickinson poems to read over the summer!


Posted by She Who Would Prevail on December 11, 2007 – Tuesday at 12:07 AM









Jesus Crisis







Thank reality for such wonderful teachers! … and for hope.

And thank you, SWWP, for sharing this lovely poem and your story.


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 11, 2007 – Tuesday at 9:03 AM









Elena







Here’s another poem for J. C. in his Santa Hat after all his recent Blogs on this Cold Winter Day

After Great Pain

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–then Stupor–then the letting go– (1862)


Posted by Elena on December 11, 2007 – Tuesday at 11:38 AM









Jesus Crisis







An excellent choice! Thank you!


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 11, 2007 – Tuesday at 11:44 AM









Tara







What I remember of Emily Dickinson is that she was very shy and reclusive to the point of not wanting to leave her house or have much contact with the world at large. I also remember that at the time of her death a great deal of her poems and writing were found that she had never shared with anyone. It makes me wonder would she have shared her art in a forum like myspace? Myspace definitely gives a voice to the introvert. There is a cloak of anonymity her in myspace. Would she have said things her that otherwise she would be afraid to say?

Here’s the poem I remember. I think I remembered it because it seems so out of synch with what I know about Emily Dickinson.

Wild Nights! Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be,
our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port, —
Done with the compass
Done with the chart

Rowing in Eden
Ah the sea
Might I but moor
Tonight in thee!

The second stanza is my favorite. The journey is over. Or has it just begun?


Posted by Tara on December 11, 2007 – Tuesday at 1:14 PM









Jesus Crisis







Very good!

I think every end is a beginning and every beginning is an end. Perhaps Emily was on like mind in this regard. Hmm…. And I’d like to think Emily would have put herself out there on MySpace.


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 11, 2007 – Tuesday at 1:38 PM









Insatiable Jewel







I love Emily Dickenson! Thank you JC for honoring her, by posting some of her art. I had forgotten how beautiful her writes truley are.


Posted by Insatiable Jewel on December 11, 2007 – Tuesday at 3:50 PM









Jesus Crisis







Thank you, Jewel!


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 11, 2007 – Tuesday at 3:55 PM









Emily Dickinson







This is incredible, thank you!!!


Posted by Emily Dickinson on December 11, 2007 – Tuesday at 5:00 PM









Jesus Crisis







You’re welcome!


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 11, 2007 – Tuesday at 5:02 PM









ZAYN MARC







why do we english poetry readers love emily more and more as the years go by? what is there in that repressed noble heart that could remind us of ourselves amid the carnal carnival of delights that is modern life and modern lit? is it hope for purity or for truth?

Hope is a subtle glutton;
He feeds upon the fair;
And yet, inspected closely,
What abstinence is there!


Posted by ZAYN MARC on December 20, 2007 – Thursday at 11:51 PM







Jesus Crisis







Purity… Truth…

I think that’s brilliant…

as is your Dickinson selection.


Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 20, 2007 – Thursday at 11:57 PM

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