Emily Dickinson was born 172 years ago today, December the 10th of 1830. CLICK HERE for her complete works online. Really, though, it's better to have something like this in a nice tangible book that you can touch and feel.
She was a freaky little recluse who showed very little interest in actually publishing her poetry. Renown was of no interest to her.
I'M nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us-don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
Poetry seemed to be not so much a form of communication with the world, but a kind of personal therapy, working out for her own understanding the obsessions of her soul. She was a cloistered spinster.
Death was a big theme in her work, though not in a hysterical or overly emotional way. Death seemed almost a friend. Consider this contemplation on the "thoughtful" kindness of death
SOME, too fragile for winter winds,
The thoughtful grave encloses,-
Tenderly tucking them in from frost
Before their feet are cold.
Never the treasures in her nest
The cautious grave exposes,
Building where schoolboy dare not look
And sportsman is not bold.
This covert have all the children
Early aged, and often cold,-
Sparrows unnoticed by the Father;
Lambs for whom time had not a fold.
But let us leave our tribute to Ms. Dickinson with a happy note. She could be quite the little sunshine superman, drunk on the bountious joys of nature, a "debauchee of dew"
I TASTE a liquor never brewed,
From tankards scooped in pearl;
Not all the vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an alcohol!
Inebriate of air am I,
And debauchee of dew,
Reeling, through endless summer days,
From inns of molten blue.
When landlords turn the drunken bee
Out of the foxglove's door,
When butterflies renounce their drams,
I shall but drink the more!
Till seraphs swing their snowy hats,
And saints to windows run,
To see the little tippler
Leaning against the sun!