Posted on 12/10/2019 at 08:26 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Emily Dickinson, one of the greatest American poets, was born on this day in 1830.

Appropriately for one who wielded the language with such skill and innovation, Dickinson praised the power of words and literature in her works, too.

To wit, here are a few lines from her letters and poems from her.

* * *

“But a Book is only the Heart's Portrait- every Page a Pulse.”

* * *

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry.”

* * *

“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.”

* * *

“A word is dead

When it is said,

Some say.

I say it just

Begins to live

That day.”

* * *

“There is no Frigate like a Book

To take us Lands away

Nor any Coursers like a Page

Of prancing Poetry –

This Traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of Toll –

How frugal is the Chariot

That bears a Human soul.”

* * *

“The dearest ones of time, the strongest friends of the soul--BOOKS.”

* * *

“He ate and drank the precious words,

His spirit grew robust;

He knew no more that he was poor,

Nor that his frame was dust.

He danced along the dingy days,

And this bequest of wings

Was but a book. What liberty

A loosened spirit brings!”

* * *

“A Word that Breathes Distinctly

Has not the Power to Die”

* * *

“A precious mouldering pleasure 't is

To meet an antique book,

In just the dress his century wore;

A privilege, I think,

His venerable hand to take,

And warming in our own,

A passage back, or two, to make

To times when he was young.

His quaint opinions to inspect,

His knowledge to unfold

On what concerns our mutual mind.

The literature of old;

What interested scholars most,

What competitions ran

When Plato was a certainty,

And Sophocles a man;

When Sappho was a living girl,

And Beatrice wore

The gown that Dante deified.

Facts, centuries before,

He traverses familiar,

As one should come to town

And tell you all your dreams were true:

He lived where dreams were born.

His presence is enchantment,

You beg him not to go;

Old volumes shake their vellum heads

And tantalize just so.”

* * *

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Comments
I have always loved her poetry, so much emotion and feeling in her poems about all pathways of life.
Marilyn Woods | 12/11/2019 at 07:30 AM
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