Sunday, December 14, 2008

Death

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

Emily Dickenson

9 comments:

DCup said...

Thanks, Utah. Death has been on my mind, too. It must be the time of year.

Mauigirl said...

Me too...Emily Dickinson fits my mood today.

simstone said...
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Utah Savage said...

Death has been a theme here so if you've been visiting, it's been shoved in your face. The holidays were always torture for me, and old grooves in the brain are hard to smooth over with new, happier groves.

But unlike me, Miss Emily does make death a lovely ride, doesn't she?

simstone said...
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Stella said...

Dickinson lived in Maine, so this poem resonates with me. I lived 300 miles north of Boston for two years in Maine, and used to joke that up there, people had to go to Boston to warm up.

The icy winters and the savage cold Noreasters meant I could never layer enough to keep warm.

Oddly, I always noticed the light that differed significantly from where I grew up in the Southwest. So, here's another deathly Dickinson poem. Like DCup, I think it must be the time of year.
***
There's a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.

None may teach it anything,
'Tis the seal, despair,-
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.

When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, 't is like the distance
On the look of death.

DCup said...

Stella - I just read that Dickinson poem this morning and thought again of this post. Today, I'd be happy for any sunlight, oddly slanted or not.

Stella said...

Thank you, DCup. Actually, Utah started me thinking about this poem. The light is so muted up North, even during the summers. How odd we were thinking about the same poem.

I hope your cold and cloudy weather passes soon—or at least takes a break for a day or two so you can enjoy the sunlight.

Tengrain said...

But why that poem, Utah, and not "Wild Nights" - perhaps the most sublime and overt erotic poem of Dickenson's?

Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!
Futile the winds
To a heart in port,
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!

Regards,

Tengrain