Emily Dickinson
 
67
 
Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.
 
Not one of all the purple Host
Who took the Flag today
Can tell the definition
So clear of Victory
 
As he defeated—dying—
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Burst agonized and clear!

 

 
 
 
258
 
There’s a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons—
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes—
 
Heavenly Hurt, it gives us—
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are—
 
None may teach it—Any
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, ‘tis like the Distance
On the look of Death—

 

 
280

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading—treading—till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through—

And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum—
Kept beating—beating—till I thought
My mind was going numb—

And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space—began to toll,

As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race
Wrecked, solitary, here—

And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down—
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing—then—

 
 
328
 
A Bird came down the Walk—
He did not know I saw—
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,
 
And then he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass—
 
He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all around—
They looked like frightened Beads, I thought—
He stirred his velvet head
 
Like one in danger, Cautious,
I offered him a Crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home—
 
Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam—
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon,
Leap, plashless as they swim.

 

 
 
435
 
Much Madness is divinest Sense—
To a discerning Eye—
Much Sense—the starkest Madness—
Tis the Majority
In this, as All, prevail—
Assent—and you are sane—
Demur—you’re straightway dangerous—
And handled with a Chain—

 

 
 
478
 
I had no time to Hate—
Because
The Grave would hinder Me
And Life was not so
Ample I
Could finish—Enmity—
 
Nor had I time to Love—
But since
Some Industry must be—
The little Toil of Love—
I thought
Be large enough for Me

 

 
 
569
 
I reckon—when I count it all—
First—Poets—Then the Sun—
Then Summer—Then the Heaven of God—
And then—the List is done—
 
But, looking back—the First so seems
To Comprehend the Whole—
The Others look a needless Show—
So I write—Poets—All—
 
Their Summer—lasts a Solid Year—
They can afford a Sun
The East—would deem extravagant—
And if the Further Heaven—
 
Be Beautiful as they prepare
For Those who worship Them—
It is too difficult a Grace—
To justify the Dream—

 

 
 
636
 
The Way I read a Letter’s—this—
Tis first—I lock the Door—
And push it with my fingers—next—
For transport it be sure—
 
And then I go the furthest off
To counteract a knock—
Then draw my little Letter forth
And slowly pick the lock—
 
Then—glancing narrow, at the Wall—
And narrow at the floor
For firm Conviction of a Mouse
Not exorcised before—
 
Peruse how infinite I am
To no one that You—know—
And sigh for lack of Heaven—but not
The Heaven God bestow—

 

 
 
701
 
A Thought went up my mind today—
That I have had before—
But did not finish—some way back—
I could not fix the Year—
 
Nor where it went—nor why it came
The second time to me—
Nor definitely, what it was—
Have I the Art to say—
 
But somewhere—in my Soul—I know—
I’ve met the Thing before—
It just reminded me—’twas all—
And came my way no more—

 

 
 
712
 
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 drew 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—in the Ground—
 
Since then—’tis Centuries—and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity—

 

 
 
823
 
Not that We did, shall be the test
When Act and Will are done
But what Our Lord infers We would
Had We diviner been—

 

 
 
1129
 
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
 
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind—

 

 

 

1263

 

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 the Human soul

 

 

 

1540

 

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 the Human soul

 

 

 

1732

 

My life closed twice before its close—

It yet remains to see

If Immortality unveil

A third event to me

 

So huge, so hopeless to conceive

As these that twice befell.

Parting is all we know of heaven,

And all we need of hell.