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. Poems of Emily Dickinson



/ Emily Elizabeth Dickinson, (10 , 1830 15 1886) .



I gave myself to him,
And took himself for pay.
The solemn contract of a life
Was ratified this way

The value might disappoint,
Myself a poorer prove
Than this my purchaser suspect,
The daily own of Love

Depreciates the sight;
But, 'til the merchant buy,
Still fabled, in the isles of spice
The subtle cargoes lie.

At least, 'tis mutual risk,
Some found it mutual gain;
Sweet debt of Life,each night to owe,
Insolvent, every noon.


A Bird Came Down

A bird came down the walk:
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.

And then he drank a dew
From a convenient grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
To let a beetle pass.

He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all abroad,--
They looked like frightened beads, I thought;
He stirred his velvet head

Like one in danger; cautious,
I offered him a crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home

Than oars divide the ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or butterflies, off banks of noon,
Leap, splashless, as they swim.


A Clock stopped

A Clock stopped
Not the Mantel's
Geneva's farthest skill
Can't put the puppet bowing
That just now dangled still

An awe came on the Trinket!
The Figures hunched, with pain
Then quivered out of Decimals
Into Degreeless Noon

It will not stir for Doctors
This Pendulum of snow
This Shopman importunes it
While cool concernless No

Nods from the Gilded pointers
Nods from the Seconds slim
Decades of Arrogance between
The Dial life
And Him


A precious-mouldering pleasure'tis

A precious-mouldering pleasure'tis
To meet an Antique Book
In just the Dress his Century wore
A privilege-I think
His venerable Hand to take
And warming in our own
A passage back-or two-to make
To Times when he-was young
His quaint opinions-to inspect
His thought to ascertain
On Themes concern our mutual mind
The Literature of Man
What interested Scholars-most
What Competitions ran
When Plato-was a Certainty
And Sophocles-a Man
When Sappho-was a living Girl
And Beatrice wore
The Gown that Dante-deified
Facts Centuries before
He traverses-familiar
As One should come to Town
And tell you all your Dreams-were true
He lived-where Dreams were born
His presence is Enchantment
You beg him not to go
Old Volume shake their Vellum Heads
And tantalize just so


Alone, I cannot be

Alone, I cannot be
For Hosts do visit me
Recordless Company
Who baffle Key

They have no Robes, nor Names
No Almanacs nor Climes
But general Homes
Like Gnomes

Their Coming, may be known
By Couriers within
Their going is not
For they've never gone


By The Sea

I started early, took my dog,
And visited the sea;
The mermaids in the basement
Came out to look at me.

And frigates in the upper floor
Extended hempen hands,
Presuming me to be a mouse
Aground, upon the sands.

But no man moved me till the tide
Went past my simple shoe,
And past my apron and my belt,
And past my bodice too,

And made as he would eat me up
As wholly as a dew
Upon a dandelion's sleeve
And then I started too.

And he he followed close behind;
I felt his silver heel
Upon my ankle, then my shoes
Would overflow with pearl.

Until we met the solid town,
No man he seemed to know;
And bowing with a mighty look
At me, the sea withdrew.



I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet now I know how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.

I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in Heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.


He outstripped Time with but a Bout

He outstripped Time with but a Bout,
He outstripped Stars and Sun
And then, unjaded, challenged God
In presence of the Throne.

And He and He in mighty List
Unto this present, run,
The larger Glory for the less
A just sufficient Ring.



"Heaven" has different Signs to me
Sometimes, I think that Noon
Is but a symbol of the Place
And when again, at Dawn,

A mighty look runs round the World
And settles in the Hills
An Awe if it should be like that
Upon the Ignorance steals

The Orchard, when the Sun is on
The Triumph of the Birds
When they together Victory make
Some Carnivals of Clouds

The Rapture of a finished Day
Returning to the West
All these remind us of the place
That Men call "paradise"

Itself be fairer we suppose
But how Ourself, shall be
Adorned, for a Superior Grace
Not yet, our eyes can see


I have a Bird in spring

I have a Bird in spring
Which for myself doth sing
The spring decoys.
And as the summer nears
And as the Rose appears,
Robin is gone.

Yet do I not repine
Knowing that Bird of mine
Though flown
Learneth beyond the sea
Melody new for me
And will return.

Fast is a safer hand
Held in a truer Land
Are mine
And though they now depart,
Tell I my doubting heart
They're thine.

In a serener Bright,
In a more golden light
I see
Each little doubt and fear,
Each little discord here

Then will I not repine,
Knowing that Bird of mine
Though flown
Shall in a distant tree
Bright melody for me


If your Nerve, deny you

If your Nerve, deny you
Go above your Nerve
He can lean against the Grave,
If he fear to swerve

That's a steady posture
Never any bend
Held of those Brass arms
Best Giant made

If your Soul seesaw
Lift the Flesh door
The Poltroon wants Oxygen
Nothing more


Mine-by the Right of the White Election!

Mine-by the Right of the White Election!
Mine-by the Royal Seal!
Mine-by the Sign in the Scarlet prison
Bars-cannot conceal!
Mine-here-in Vision-and in Veto!
Mine-by the Grave's Repeal
Delirious Charter!
Mine-long as Ages steal!


Must be a Woe

Must be a Woe
A loss or so
To bend the eye
Best Beauty's way

But once aslant
It notes Delight
As difficult
As Stalactite

A Common Bliss
Were had for less
The price is
Even as the Grace

Our lord thought no
To pay a Cross


No Rack can torture me

No Rack can torture me
My Soul at Liberty
Behind this mortal Bone
There knits a bolder One

You cannot prick with saw
Nor pierce with Scimitar
Two Bodies therefore be
Bind One The Other fly

The Eagle of his Nest
No easier divest
And gain the Sky
Than mayest Thou

Except Thyself may be
Thine Enemy
Captivity is Consciousness
So's Liberty.


One Sister have I in our house

One Sister have I in our house,
And one, a hedge away.
There's only one recorded,
But both belong to me.

One came the road that I came
And wore my last year's gown
The other, as a bird her nest,
Builded our hearts among.

She did not sing as we did
It was a different tune
Herself to her a music
As Bumble bee of June.

Today is far from Childhood
But up and down the hills
I held her hand the tighter
Which shortened all the miles

And still her hum
The years among,
Deceives the Butterfly;
Still in her Eye
The Violets lie
Mouldered this many May.

I spilt the dew
But took the morn
I chose this single star
From out the wide night's numbers
Sue forevermore!



Pain has an Element of Blank
It cannot recollect
When it begun or if there were
A time when it was not

It has no Future but itself
Its Infinite Contain
Its Past enlightened to perceive
New Periods of Pain.


She rose to His Requirement

She rose to His Requirement dropt
The Playthings of Her Life
To take the honorable Work
Of Woman, and of Wife

If ought She missed in Her new Day,
Of Amplitude, or Awe
Or first Prospective Or the Gold
In using, wear away,

It lay unmentioned as the Sea
Develop Pearl, and Weed,
But only to Himself be known
The Fathoms they abide


Sleep is supposed to be

Sleep is supposed to be
By souls of sanity
The shutting of the eye.

Sleep is the station grand
Down which, on either hand
The hosts of witness stand!

Morn is supposed to be
By people of degree
The breaking of the Day.

Morning has not occurred!

That shall Aurora be
East of Eternity
One with the banner gay
One in the red array
That is the break of Day!


The Soul selects her own Society

The Soul selects her own Society
Then shuts the Door
To her divine Majority
Present no more
Unmoved she notes the Chariots pausing
At her low Gate
Unmoved an Emperor be kneeling
Upon her Mat
I've known her from an ample nation
Choose One
Then close the Valves of her attention
Like Stone


Upon Concluded Lives

Upon Concluded Lives
There's nothing cooler falls
Than Life's sweet Calculations
The mixing Bells and Palls

Make Lacerating Tune
To Ears the Dying Side
'Tis Coronal and Funeral
Saluting in the Road


Victory comes late

Victory comes late
And is held low to freezing lips
Too rapt with frost
To take it
How sweet it would have tasted
Just a Drop
Was God so economical?
His Table's spread too high for Us
Unless We dine on tiptoe
Crumbsfit such little mouths
Cherriessuit Robbins
The Eagle's Golden Breakfast strangles Them
God keep His Oath to Sparrows
Who of little Loveknow how to starve


When Night is almost done

When Night is almost done
And Sunrise grows so near
That we can touch the Spaces
It's time to smooth the Hair
And get the Dimples ready
And wonder we could care
For that old-faded Midnight
That frightened-but an Hour


You know that Portrait in the Moon

You know that Portrait in the Moon
So tell me who 'tis like
The very Brow the stooping eyes
A fog for Say Whose Sake?

The very Pattern of the Cheek
It varies in the Chin
But Ishmael since we met 'tis long
And fashions intervene

When Moon's at full 'Tis Thou I say
My lips just hold the name
When crescent Thou art worn I note
But there the Golden Same

And when Some Night Bold slashing Clouds
Cut Thee away from Me
That's easier than the other film
That glazes Holiday


You left me, sweet, two legacies, (Bequest)

You left me, sweet, two legacies,
A legacy of love
A Heavenly Father would content,
Had He the offer of;
You left me boundaries of pain
Capacious as the sea,
Between eternity and time,
Your consciousness and me.



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