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Posts Tagged ‘emily dickinson’

 

 

Mom, she says, I don’t know what it was about that book,

but the pages were falling out and it smelled old

and I think it cast a spell on me.

And I recall the first time I read Emily,

an old cloth book with the text debossed,

how I ran my fingers over the words

and felt them as I read them:

“As imperceptibly as Grief

The Summer lapsed away—”

Mom, she says, I didn’t even understand

a single word I read, but I couldn’t stop reading.

And now, I think that book is haunting me.

We are making her bed just before she sleeps,

and I tug on the covers to straighten them.

Yes, I say, her words are like spells.

I memorized that poem, though I was

too young to know of “courteous

and harrowing grace.” I knew only

that when I said the words, they gave

me such an openness, a wideness, a delight,

as if morning found its way into my chest,

and now, thirty years later, the early light

still touches me, still thralls.

The bed remade, she slips beneath

and I lay at her feet and for a time we read.

I want to talk more about Emily,

but the spell is her own and I don’t

want to trespass her magic,

the wonder she feels.

Perhaps someday she, too,

will read these lines,

“Our Summer made her light escape

into the beautiful.”

and know herself more beautiful

for having let them touch her.

 

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IMG_0798
Sometimes I wish that Emily
would come knock at my door,
and she’d be wearing white, of course,
and I would bid her in.

And then I might confess to her
as through the door she passed,
“Oh Friend! I’d say, “I’m Nobody!
We are in fact a pair!

But that would be too Somebody
of me to say, I’m sure.
So I would simply let her in
and show her to the couch.

We’d sit and drink a bit of tea.
I imagine it is black.
Would she take sugar? I don’t know.
I’d offer anyway

with cookies that I baked today
the ones with mint inside.
We’d take turns sipping at our tea
and then resting our cups.

I would be sure to not step on
long pauses when she spoke—
just waiting for the full effect
when her words land on me

as oftentimes they do these days,
as when last week I read
again the lines about one’s name,
about the tiresome bog.

I felt such longing in me then
to be a Nobody.
and thought, “You’re so right, Emily,”
But she’d hate to be named.

So when she sits across from me
I never mention how
I’ve read all of her poetry,
I never say her name.

And I don’t dream of asking her
of where she got her thoughts,
the line, for instance, with the frog
the line about the bog.

I simply say, Oh look, the sun,
it’s very nearly down.
And would you like another cup,
before the light escapes.

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How the old mountains drip with sunset
—Emily Dickinson

Dear Emily,

It was just as you said, tonight,
the San Juans rose and blue,
and in the shallow reservoir,
the herons dripping, too—
I did not mean to startle them
as grayly there they stood,
but on hushed feet I stepped myself
into solitude.
Wing after wing they rowed themselves
into the muted dome
till all went dim—oh dark abyss!—
and we were held as one.

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