Thank you Note
Thank you for the letters to the world-
Those small passports to God-
Her voice, dearest Lavinia-
took our very heads right off-
March came in and swept the pond-
and the admiring bogs-
As she softly stitched and tucked away
till death kindly stopped for her- *
She is the thing with feathers, perched in
Taking simple words and turning them into
And then her sun rose slowly a ribbon
at a time-
If there's such a thing as heaven-
She is no doubt the chart-
(Lavinia is Emily Dickinson's sister who discovered her works after
Emily's death and took it upon herself to have the works published)-
by Val Magnuson, copyright 2003
* "because I could not stop for death- he kindly stopped for me-
the carriage held for just ourselves and immortality".
This is a thank you note to Lavinia, Emily's sister, who found her poems after her death and chose to publish them.
Emily Dickenson at
age 17, from the
Amherst Library collection.
If you would like to compliment Val on her poem, please go the guestbook on her page.
And here's Emily:
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Upon his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
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 boring to be somebody !
How public like a frog,
To tell your name all livelong day
To an admiring bog !
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.
Love is anterior to life,
Posterior to death,
Initial of creation, and
The exponent of breath.
Proud of my broken heart since thou didst break it,
Proud of the pain I did not feel till thee,
Proud of my night since thou with moons dost slake it,
Not to partake thy passion, my humility.
That I did always love,
I bring thee proof :
That till I loved
I did not love enough.
That I shall love alway,
I offer thee
That love is life,
And life hath immortality.
This, dost thou doubt, sweet?
Then have I
Nothing to show
I taste a liquor never brewed --
from Tankards scooped in Pearl --
Not all the vast upon the Rhine
Yield such an alcohol!
Inebriate of Air -- am I --
And Debauchee of Dew --
Reeling -- thru 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 Tipples
Leaning against the -- Sun --
I dwell in Possibility --
A fairer House than Prose --
More numerous of Windows --
Superior -- for Doors --
Of Chambers as the Cedars --
Impregnable of Eye --
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky --
Of Visitors -- the fairest --
For Occupation -- This --
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise --
The Life that tied too tight escapes
Will ever after run
With a prudential look behind
And spectres of the Rein --
The Horse that scents the living Grass
And sees the Pastures smile
Will be retaken with a shot
If he is caught at all --
Meeting by Accident,
We hovered by design --
As often as a Century
An error so divine
Is ratified by Destiny,
But destiny is old
And economical of Bliss
As Midas is of Gold --
If ever the lid gets off my head
And lets the brain away
The fellow will go where he belonged --
Without a hint from me,
And the world -- if the world be looking on --
Will see how far from home
It is possible for sense to live
The soul there -- all the time.