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Poetry

Two Butterflies went out at Noon – Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson possessed the gift of mystic vision, and that vision is displayed brilliantly in this fantabulous little poem that offers a little drama of two butterflies on a magical flight.

Two Butterflies went out at Noon—
And waltzed above a Farm—
Then stepped straight through the Firmament
And rested on a Beam—

And then—together bore away
Upon a shining Sea—
Though never yet, in any Port—
Their coming mentioned—be—

If spoken by the distant Bird—
If met in Ether Sea
By Frigate, or by Merchantman—
No notice—was—to me—

In Emily Dickinson’s “Two Butterflies went out at Noon” (#533 in Thomas H. Johnson’s The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson), the speaker dramatizes an imaginary flight of two butterflies that ease out on an amazing journey.

Emily Dickinson’s mystical vision is revealed in many of her poems, and this one serves as one of the finest examples of that vision. Her gift of mystical sight accompanies her gift for creating little dramas that feature snippets of that sight in poetic form.

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Poetry

One Sister Have I In Our House By Emily Dickinson

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

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Poetry

Apparently with no surprise * Emily Dickinson Poetry

Apparently with no surprise
To any happy Flower
The Frost beheads it at its play—
In accidental power —
The blonde Assassin passes on—
The Sun proceeds unmoved
To measure off another Day
For an Approving God.

maxresdefaultWith “Apparently with no surprise” Emily picks up one of her favorite themes: death. Yeah, kind of dark, but some biographers say that she had particularly good reason to be writing about the D-word when she wrote this poem. Some say that this one popped out of her brilliant mind in the 1880’s not long after she’d gone through a string of deaths in her life.

There was her mom, her dad, her cute little nephew, several close friends, and Otis Phillips Lord (the closest thing to a BF she ever had). Yup, seems like she had good reason to dwell on death a bit. In fact, this poem was written not long before her own death in 1886.

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Poetry

As imperceptibly as Grief by Emily Dickinson- Say Goodbye to Summer

As imperceptibly as Grief
The Summer lapsed away —
Too imperceptible at last
To seem like Perfidy —
A Quietness distilled
As Twilight long begun,
Or Nature spending with herself
Sequestered Afternoon —
The Dusk drew earlier in —
The Morning foreign shone —
A courteous, yet harrowing Grace,
As Guest, that would be gone —
And thus, without a Wing
Or service of a Keel
Our Summer made her light escape
Into the Beautiful.

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Poetry

Much Madness * Emily Dickinson

As we are still raising awareness for the Mental Health month, we’ll have a look at a sweet poem by Emily Dickinson. The message itself is, while powerful, fairly simple to understand—what is called madness is often actually the truest sanity, but as long as it differs from the perspective of the majority who defines what is right and wrong, it will be called madness.

Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.
’T is the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane;
Demur,—you ’re straightway dangerous,
And handled with a chain.

This poem states that what is often declared madness is actually the most profound kind of sanity (“Much Madness is divinest Sense –“), when viewed by someone with “a discerning Eye.” What is often called sense or sanity is in fact not just “Madness,” but profound madness (“the starkest Madness”). It is only called “Sense” because it is not defined by reason, but by what the majority thinks (“’Tis the Majority / In this, as All, prevail –“).

Since the majority rules, the act of agreeing, no matter to what, means that you are, in the public mind, sane (“Assent – and you are sane –“). If you disagree, or even hesitate in your assent, you are not only declared crazy, but dangerously so (“Demur – you’re straightway dangerous –“). The act of disagreeing with the majority leads to a loss of freedom (“And handled with a Chain –“), thus one can either be physically free, but ruled by the majority, or imprisoned with their own beliefs.

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Poetry

Emily Dickinson – The Wife

THE WIFE.
The wife of Pygmalion
The wife of Pygmalion
She rose to his requirement, dropped
The playthings of her life
To take the honorable work
Of woman and of wife.
If aught she missed in her new day
Of amplitude, or awe,
Or first prospective, or the gold
In using wore away,
It lay unmentioned, as the sea
Develops pearl and weed,
But only to himself is known
The fathoms they abide.
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Poetry

Emily Dickinson – Apocalypse

APOCALYPSE.
May Prinsep George Frederic Watts RA (1817-1904)
May Prinsep
George Frederic Watts RA (1817-1904)

I’m wife; I’ve finished that,

That other state;
I’m Czar, I’m woman now:
It’s safer so.
How odd the girl’s life looks
Behind this soft eclipse!
I think that earth seems so
To those in heaven now.
This being comfort, then
That other kind was pain;
But why compare?
I’m wife! stop there!

 

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Poetry

He put the belt around my life (50 shades of Grey)

Emily Dickinson (1830–86). Complete Poems. 1924.

Part Three: Love

XXXII
Romanti-scene-of-50-Shades-of-Grey-MovieHE put the belt around my life,—
I heard the buckle snap,
And turned away, imperial,
My lifetime folding up
Deliberate, as a duke would do
A kingdom’s title-deed,—
Henceforth a dedicated sort,
A member of the cloud.

Yet not too far to come at call,
And do the little toils
That make the circuit of the rest,
And deal occasional smiles
To lives that stoop to notice mine
And kindly ask it in,—
Whose invitation, knew you not
For whom I must decline?

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Poetry

I cannot live with You (Emily Dickinson)

“I Cannot Live With You” is one of Emily Dickinson’s great love poems, sharing the logical sensibility of the metaphysical poets whom she admired, advancing her thoughts about her lover, slowly, from the first declaration to the inevitable devastating conclusion. However, unlike most sonnet arguments or “carpe diem” poems, this poem seems designed to argue against love. The poem can be broken down into five parts. The first explains why she cannot live with the object of her love, the second why she cannot die with him, the third why she cannot rise with him, the fourth why she cannot fall with him, and the final utterance of impossibility.
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I cannot live with You – 
It would be Life – 
And Life is over there – 
Behind the Shelf

The Sexton keeps the Key to – 
Putting up
Our Life – His Porcelain – 
Like a Cup – 

Discarded of the Housewife – 
Quaint – or Broke – 
A newer Sevres pleases – 
Old Ones crack – 

I could not die – with You – 
For One must wait
To shut the Other’s Gaze down – 
You – could not – 

And I – could I stand by
And see You – freeze – 
Without my Right of Frost – 
Death’s privilege?

Nor could I rise – with You – 
Because Your Face
Would put out Jesus’ – 
That New Grace

Glow plain – and foreign
On my homesick Eye – 
Except that You than He
Shone closer by – 

They’d judge Us – How – 
For You – served Heaven – You know,
Or sought to – 
I could not – 

Because You saturated Sight – 
And I had no more Eyes
For sordid excellence
As Paradise

And were You lost, I would be – 
Though My Name
Rang loudest
On the Heavenly fame – 

And were You – saved – 
And I – condemned to be
Where You were not – 
That self – were Hell to Me – 

So We must meet apart – 
You there – I – here – 
With just the Door ajar
That Oceans are – and Prayer – 
And that White Sustenance – 
Despair –
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Poetry

Sleep is supposed to be (Emily Dickinson)

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Emily Dickinson (1830–86). Complete Poems. 1924.
Part Four: Time and Eternity
XXXVIII
SLEEP is supposed to be,
By souls of sanity,
The shutting of the eye.
Sleep is the station grand
Down which on either hand 5
The hosts of witness stand!
Morn is supposed to be,
By people of degree,
The breaking of the day.
Morning has not occurred! 10
That shall aurora be
East of eternity;
One with the banner gay,
One in the red array,—
That is the break of day.