Friday, February 27, 2009

Emily Dickinson (1st Poem)

Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1830 and died in 1886.
She was a recluse for most of her life and wrote almost two thousand poems. Only seven were published during her lifetime, all anonymously. When four poems were rejected by The Atlantic Monthly, she never again attempted to publish her work. Apparently her sister discovered them after Emily's death and arranged to have them published. I found this biographical information in my edition of The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson, published by Barnes & Nobel Books in 1993. It had been initially published in 1924 as The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson.

Here is a poem I read for the first time tonight.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

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