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--
Then--close the Valves of her attention--
(written by Emily Dickinson)
Are you at your table--by the window--
Beyond the Evergreens
Where I beheld You once?
In the Room where you welcomed me--
An old Friend--
As though we had been--for a Moment--interrupted
And so easily--Again--picked up?
They think you a hermit, my Red--
A mouse--by baseboard held--defined--
But you are a Heart--Divine by nature
A Soul in Flame--beyond confine--
Dear Red--I know--She is near as your next Breath--
Yet as Distant--as Persia--or Africa's Nile--
A peculiar Torment--a lifesblood of words
For Her--survives--through Eternity's while--
I know the Heart--forever in debt--
Written out--put Away--folded neatly, like linens--
I know what it Cost--I know what it Meant.
for Kenia's challenge at Real Toads
Note: for those who do not know, or read here regularly, when I visited her home in Amherst, in 2007, I felt Emily there; not in any vague sense, but THERE, and personally. She was glad I had come, she welcomed me, and she knew about my writing. It was, for me, an intense and spiritual experience.
E.D. was in love with her sister in law, Susan Huntington Dickinson (see the book "Open Me Carefully") who was married to her brother and lived next door at The Evergreens. The relationship spanned decades, shows up again and again in Emily's poems ("I Cannot Live With You"), and must have been both sustaining and incredibly frustrating for Emily.
I tried to find the version of her featured poem, above, which seemed to me to be most true to Emily's actual style. One of the things I love dearly about her is that she wrote in her own amazing and unique way, resisting advice to write in a style more in keeping with contemporary convention. Up at least into the 1950s, and even today, editors have changed her punctuation, capitalizations, and even her wording, to make it more conventional. (Why?!?)