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AO More Emily Dickinson Poems AmblesideOnline.org

AmblesideOnline Emily Dickinson

64 additional poems


01 - A Bird Came Down the Walk

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 abroad,
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.


02 - Where Ships of Purple

Where ships of purple gently toss
On seas of daffodil,
Fantastic sailors mingle,
And then the wharf is still.


03 - In a Library

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 sown.

His presence is enchantment,
You beg him not to go;
Old volumes shake their vellum heads
And tantalize, just so.


04 - A Wounded Deer Leaps Highest

A wounded deer leaps highest,
I've heard the hunter tell;
'T is but the ecstasy of death,
And then the brake is still.

The smitten rock that gushes,
The trampled steel that springs:
A cheek is always redder
Just where the hectic stings!

Mirth is the mail of anguish,
In which it cautions arm,
Lest anybody spy the blood
And "You're hurt" exclaim!


05 - The Lonely House

I know some lonely houses off the road
A robber 'd like the look of,
Wooden barred,
And windows hanging low,
Inviting to
A portico,
Where two could creep:
One hand the tools,
The other peep
To make sure all's asleep.
Old-fashioned eyes,
Not easy to surprise!

How orderly the kitchen 'd look by night,
With just a clock,
But they could gag the tick,
And mice won't bark;
And so the walls don't tell,
None will.
A pair of spectacles afar just stir
An almanac's aware.
Was it the mat winked,
Or a nervous star?
The moon slides down the stair
To see who's there.

There's plunder, where?
Tankard, or spoon,
Earring, or stone,
A watch, some ancient brooch
To match the grandmamma,
Staid sleeping there.

Day rattles, too,
Stealth's slow;
The sun has got as far
As the third sycamore.
Screams chanticleer,
"Who's there?"
And echoes, trains away,
Sneer " Where?"
While the old couple, just astir,
Fancy the sunrise left the door ajar!


06 - Belshazzar Had a Letter

Belshazzar had a letter,
He never had but one;
Belshazzar's correspondent
Concluded and begun
In that immortal copy
The conscience of us all
Can read without its glasses
On revelation's wall.


07 - Whether My Bark Went Out to Sea

Whether my bark went down at sea,
Whether she met with gales,
Whether to isles enchanted
She bent her docile sails;

By what mystic mooring
She is held to-day,
This is the errand of the eye
Out upon the bay.


08 - My Country's Wardrobe

My country need not change her gown,
Her triple suit as sweet
As when 't was cut at Lexington,
And first pronounced "a fit."

Great Britain disapproves "the stars;"
Disparagement discreet,
There 's something in their attitude
That taunts her bayonet.


09 - Two Voyagers

Two butterflies went out at noon
And waltzed above a stream,
Then stepped straight through the firmament
And rested on a beam;

And then together bore away
Upon a shining sea,
Though never yet, in any port,
Their coming mentioned be.

If spoken by the distant bird,
If met in ether sea
By frigate or by merchantman,
Report was not to me.


10 - A Light Exists in Spring

A light exists in spring
Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here

A color stands abroad
On solitary hills
That science cannot overtake,
But human nature feels.

It waits upon the lawn;
It shows the furthest tree
Upon the furthest slope we know;
It almost speaks to me.

Then, as horizons step,
Or noons report away,
Without the formula of sound,
It passes, and we stay:

A quality of loss
Affecting our content,
As trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a sacrament.


11 - Before the Ice is in the Pools

Before the ice is in the pools,
Before the skaters go,
Or any cheek at nightfall
Is tarnished by the snow,

Before the fields have finished,
Before the Christmas tree,
Wonder upon wonder
Will arrive to me!

What we touch the hems of
On a summer's day;
What is only walking
Just a bridge away;

That which sings so, speaks so,
When there's no one here,
Will the frock I wept in
Answer me to wear?


12 - To March

Dear March, come in!
How glad I am!
I looked for you before.
Put down your hat
You must have walked
How out of breath you are!
Dear March, how are you?
And the rest?
Did you leave Nature well?
Oh, March, come right upstairs with me,
I have so much to tell!

I got your letter, and the birds';
The maples never knew
That you were coming, I declare,
How red their faces grew!
But, March, forgive me
And all those hills
You left for me to hue;
There was no purple suitable,
You took it all with you.

Who knocks? That April!
Lock the door!
I will not be pursued!
He stayed away a year, to call
When I am occupied.
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come,
That blame is just as dear as praise
And praise as mere as blame.


13 - Frequently the Woods are Pink

Frequently the woods are pink,
Frequently are brown;
Frequently the hills undress
Behind my native town.

Oft a head is crested
I was wont to see,
And as oft a cranny
Where it used to be.

And the earth, they tell me,
On its axis turned,
Wonderful rotation
By but twelve performed!


14 - Refuge

The clouds their backs together laid,
The north begun to push,
The forests galloped till they fell,
The lightning skipped like mice;
The thunder crumbled like a stuff
How good to be safe in tombs,
Where nature's temper cannot reach,
Nor vengeance ever comes!


15 - To Make a Prairie it Takes a Clover and One Bee

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do
If bees are few


16 - Forbidden Fruit (1)

Forbidden fruit a flavor has
That lawful orchards mocks;
How luscious lies the pea within
The pod that Duty locks!


17 - I Have Not Told my Garden Yet

I have not told my garden yet,
Lest that should conquer me;
I have not quite the strength now
To break it to the bee.

I will not name it in the street,
For shops would stare, that I,
So shy, so very ignorant,
Should have the face to die.

The hillsides must not know it,
Where I have rambled so,
Nor tell the loving forests
The day that I shall go,

Nor lisp it at the table,
Nor heedless by the way
Hint that within the riddle
One will walk to-day!


18 - With a Flower

I hide myself within my flower,
That wearing on your breast,
You, unsuspecting, wear me too
And angels know the rest.

I hide myself within my flower,
That, fading from your vase,
You, unsuspecting, feel for me
Almost a loneliness.


19 - By The Sea

I started early, took my dog,
And visited the sea;
The mermaids in the basement
Came out to look at me,

And frigates in the upper floor
Extended hempen hands,
Presuming me to be a mouse
Aground, upon the sands.

But no man moved me till the tide
Went past my simple shoe,
And past my apron and my belt,
And past my bodice too,

And made as he would eat me up
As wholly as a dew
Upon a dandelion's sleeve
And then I started too.

And he he followed close behind;
I felt his silver heel
Upon my ankle, then my shoes
Would overflow with pearl.

Until we met the solid town,
No man he seemed to know;
And bowing with a mighty look
At me, the sea withdrew.


20 - The Outlet

My river runs to thee:
Blue sea, wilt welcome me?

My river waits reply.
Oh sea, look graciously!

I'll fetch thee brooks
From spotted nooks,

Say, sea, take me!


21 - A Portrait

A face devoid of love or grace,
A hateful, hard, successful face,
A face with which a stone
Would feel as thoroughly at ease
As were they old acquaintances,
First time together thrown.


22 - A Rose

A sepal, petal, and a thorn
Upon a common summer's morn,
A flash of dew, a bee or two,
A breeze
A caper in the trees,
And I'm a rose!


23 - Alter? When The Hills Do

Alter? When the hills do.
Falter? When the sun
Question if his glory
Be the perfect one.

Surfeit? When the daffodil
Doth of the dew:
Even as herself, O friend!
I will of you!


24 - The Juggler of Day

Blazing in gold and quenching in purple,
Leaping like leopards to the sky,
Then at the feet of the old horizon
Laying her spotted face, to die;

Stooping as low as the otter's window,
Touching the roof and tinting the barn,
Kissing her bonnet to the meadow,
And the juggler of day is gone!


25 - Could I But Ride Indefinite

Could I but ride indefinite,
As doth the meadow-bee,
And visit only where I liked,
And no man visit me,

And flirt all day with buttercups,
And marry whom I may,
And dwell a little everywhere,
Or better, run away

With no police to follow,
Or chase me if I do,
Till I should jump peninsulas
To get away from you,

I said, but just to be a bee
Upon a raft of air,
And row in nowhere all day long,
And anchor off the bar,
What liberty! So captives deem
Who tight in dungeons are.


26 - A Murmur in the Trees to Note

A murmur in the trees to note,
Not loud enough for wind;
A star not far enough to seek,
Nor near enough to find;

A long, long yellow on the lawn,
A hubbub as of feet;
Not audible, as ours to us,
But dapperer, more sweet;

A hurrying home of little men
To houses unperceived,
All this, and more, if I should tell,
Would never be believed.

Of robins in the trundle bed
How many I espy
Whose nightgowns could not hide the wings,
Although I heard them try!
But then I promised ne'er to tell;
How could I break my word?
So go your way and I'll go mine,
No fear you'll miss the road.


27 - Playmates

God permits industrious angels
Afternoons to play.
I met one, forgot my school-mates,
All, for him, straightway.

God calls home the angels promptly
At the setting sun;
I missed mine. How dreary marbles,
After playing Crown!


28 - A Book

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!


29 - High from the Earth I Heard a Bird

High from the earth I heard a bird;
He trod upon the trees
As he esteemed them trifles,
And then he spied a breeze,
And situated softly
Upon a pile of wind
Which in a perturbation
Nature had left behind.
A joyous-going fellow
I gathered from his talk,
Which both of benediction
And badinage partook,
Without apparent burden,
I learned, in leafy wood
He was the faithful father
Of a dependent brood;
And this untoward transport
His remedy for care,
A contrast to our respites.
How different we are!


30 - The Coming of Night

How the old mountains drip with sunset,
And the brake of dun!
How the hemlocks are tipped in tinsel
By the wizard sun!

How the old steeples hand the scarlet,
Till the ball is full,
Have I the lip of the flamingo
That I dare to tell?

Then, how the fire ebbs like billows,
Touching all the grass
With a departing, sapphire feature,
As if a duchess pass!

How a small dusk crawls on the village
Till the houses blot;
And the odd flambeaux no men carry
Glimmer on the spot!

Now it is night in nest and kennel,
And where was the wood,
Just a dome of abyss is nodding
Into solitude!

These are the visions baffled Guido;
Titian never told;
Domenichino dropped the pencil,
Powerless to unfold.


31 - The Duel

I took my power in my hand.
And went against the world;
'T was not so much as David had,
But I was twice as bold.

I aimed my pebble, but myself
Was all the one that fell.
Was it Goliath was too large,
Or only I too small?


32 - Shipwreck

It tossed and tossed,
A little brig I knew,
O'ertook by blast,
It spun and spun,
And groped delirious, for morn.

It slipped and slipped,
As one that drunken stepped;
Its white foot tripped,
Then dropped from sight.

Ah, brig, good-night
To crew and you;
The ocean's heart too smooth, too blue,
To break for you.


33 - The Bee

Like trains of cars on tracks of plush
I hear the level bee:
A jar across the flowers goes,
Their velvet masonry

Withstands until the sweet assault
Their chivalry consumes,
While he, victorious, tilts away
To vanquish other blooms.

His feet are shod with gauze,
His helmet is of gold;
His breast, a single onyx
With chrysoprase, inlaid.

His labor is a chant,
His idleness a tune;
Oh, for a bee's experience
Of clovers and of noon!


34 - So Bashful When I Spied Her

So bashful when I spied her,
So pretty, so ashamed!
So hidden in her leaflets,
Lest anybody find;

So breathless till I passed her,
So helpless when I turned
And bore her, struggling, blushing,
Her simple haunts beyond!

For whom I robbed the dingle,
For whom betrayed the dell,
Many will doubtless ask me,
But I shall never tell!


35 - To Fight Aloud is Very Brave

To fight aloud is very brave,
But gallanter, I know,
Who charge within the bosom,
The cavalry of woe.

Who win, and nations do not see,
Who fall, and none observe,
Whose dying eyes no country
Regards with patriot love.

We trust, in plumed procession,
For such the angels go,
Rank after rank, with even feet
And uniforms of snow.


36 - Who Robbed the Woods

Who robbed the woods,
The trusting woods?
The unsuspecting trees
Brought out their burrs and mosses
His fantasy to please.
He scanned their trinkets, curious,
He grasped, he bore away.
What will the solemn hemlock,
What will the fir-tree say?


37 - The Sleeping Flowers

"Whose are the little beds," I asked,
"Which in the valleys lie?"
Some shook their heads, and others smiled,
And no one made reply.

"Perhaps they did not hear," I said;
"I will inquire again.
Whose are the beds, the tiny beds
So thick upon the plain?"

"'T is daisy in the shortest;
A little farther on,
Nearest the door to wake the first,
Little leontodon.

"'T is iris, sir, and aster,
Anemone and bell,
Batschia in the blanket red,
And chubby daffodil."

Meanwhile at many cradles
Her busy foot she plied,
Humming the quaintest lullaby
That ever rocked a child.

"Hush! Epigea wakens!
The crocus stirs her lids,
Rhodora's cheek is crimson,
She's dreaming of the woods."

Then, turning from them, reverent,
"Their bed-time 't is," she said;
"The bumble-bees will wake them
When April woods are red."


38 - Like Brooms of Steel

Like brooms of steel
The Snow and Wind
Had swept the Winter Street,
The House was hooked,
The Sun sent out
Faint Deputies of heat --
The Apple in the cellar snug
Where rode the Bird
The Silence tied
His ample, plodding Steed,
Was all the one that played


39 - The Dandelion's Pallid Tube

The Dandelion's pallid tube
Astonishes the Grass,
And Winter instantly becomes
An infinite Alas--The tube uplifts a signal Bud
And then a shouting Flower, --
The Proclamation of the Suns
That sepulture is o'er.


40 - These are the Days That Reindeer Love

These are the days that Reindeer love
And pranks the Northern star,
This is the Sun's objective
And Finland of the year.


41 - We Should not Mind so Small a Flower

We should not mind so small a flower,
Except it quiet bring
Our little garden that we lost
Back to the lawn again.
So spicy her Carnations red,
So drunken reel her Bees,
So silver steal a hundred Flutes
From out a hundred trees,
That whoso sees this little flower,
By faith may clear behold
The Bobolinks around the throne,
And Dandelions gold


42 - Will There Really Be a Morning?

Will there really be a morning?
Is there such a thing as day?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?

Has it feet like water-lilies?
Has it feathers like a bird?
Is it brought from famous countries
Of which I have never heard?

Oh, some scholar! Oh, some sailor!
Oh, some wise man from the skies!
Please to tell a little pilgrim
Where the place called morning lies!


43 - Follow Wise Orion

Follow wise Orion
Till you lose your eye,
Dazzlingly decamping
He is just as high


44 - Lightly Stepped a Yellow Star

Lightly stepped a yellow star
To its lofty place,
Loosed the Moon her silver hat
From her lustral face.
All of evening softly lit
As an astral hall --
"Father," I observed to Heaven,
"You are punctual."


45 - Epigram

One sister have I in our house,
And one a hedge away,
There 's only one recorded
But both belong to me.

One came the way that I came
And wore my past year's gown,
The other as a bird her nest,
Builded our hearts among.

She did not sing as we did,
It was a different tune,
Herself to her a music
As Bumble-bee of June.

To-day is far from childhood
But up and down the hills
I held her hand the tighter,
Which shortened all the miles.

And still her hum the years among
Deceives the Butterfly,
Still in her eye the Violets lie
Mouldered this many May.

I spilt the dew but took the morn,
I chose this single star
From out the wide night's numbers,
Sue--forevermore!
EMILY


46 - The Duties of the Wind are Few

The duties of the Wind are few-
To cast the Ships at sea,
Establish March,
The Floods escort,
And usher Liberty.


47 - The Sea Said "Come" to the Brook

The Sea said "Come" to the Brook,
The Brook said "Let me grow!"
The Sea said "Then you will be a Sea --
I want a brook, Come now!"


48 - The Spider as an Artist

The spider as an artist
Has never been employed
Though his surpassing merit
Is freely certified

By every broom and Bridget
Throughout a Christian land.
Neglected son of genius,
I take thee by the hand.


49 - 'Twas Such a Little, Little Boat

'Twas such a little, little boat
That toddled down the bay!
'T was such a gallant, gallant sea
That beckoned it away!

'T was such a greedy, greedy wave
That licked it from the coast;
Nor ever guessed the stately sails
My little craft was lost!


50 - It's All I Have to Bring To-day

It's all I have to bring to-day
This, and my heart beside,
This and my heart, and all the fields,
And all the meadows wide.
Be sure you count, should I forget, --
Some one the sum could tell, --
This, and my heart, and all the bees
Which in the clover dwell.


51 - Bee, I'm Expecting You!

Bee, I'm expecting you!
Was saying yesterday
To somebody you know
That you were due.

The frogs got home last week,
Are settled and at work,
Birds mostly back,
The clover warm and thick.

You'll get my letter by
The seventeenth; reply,
Or better, be with me.
Yours,
Fly.


52 - A Fuzzy Fellow Without Feet

A fuzzy fellow without feet
Yet doth exceeding run!
Of velvet is his countenance
And his complexion dun.

Sometimes he dwelleth in the grass,
Sometimes upon a bough
From which he doth descend in plush
Upon the passer-by.

All this in summer --
But when winds alarm the forest folk,
He taketh damask residence
And struts in sewing silk.

Then, finer than a lady,
Emerges in the spring,
A feather on each shoulder --
You'd scarce accredit him.

By men yclept a caterpillar --
By me--but who am I
To tell the pretty secret
Of the Butterfly!


53 - I Dwell in Possibility

I dwell in Possibility
A fairer house than Prose,
More numerous of windows,
Superior of doors.

Of chambers, as the cedars --
Impregnable of eye;
And for an everlasting roof
The gables of the sky.

Of visitors--the fairest --
For occupation--this --
The spreading wide my narrow hands
To gather Paradise.


54 - A Soft Sea Washed Around the House

A soft sea washed around the house,
A sea of summer air,
And rose and fell the magic planks
That sailed without a care.

For captain was the butterfly,
For helmsman was the bee,
And an entire universe
For the delighted crew.


55 - Forever Cherished Be The Tree

Forever cherished be the tree,
Whose apple Winter warm,
Enticed to breakfast from the sky
Two gabriels yestermorn;
They registered in Nature's book
As Robin Sire and Son,
But angels have that modest way
To screen them from renown.


56 - The Robin's my Criterion for Tune

The Robin's my criterion of tune
Because I grow where robins do --
But were I Cuckoo born
I'd swear by him,
The ode familiar rules the morn.
The Buttercup's my whim for bloom
Because we're orchard-sprung --
But were I Britain-born
I'd daisies spurn --
None but the Nut October fits,
Because through dropping it
The seasons flit, I'm taught.
Without the snow's tableau
Winter were lie to me --
Because I see New Englandly.
The Queen discerns like me --
Provincially.


57 - I Reckon When I Count At All

I reckon--when I count at 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.


58 -When They Come Back

When they come back,
If blossoms do --
I always feel a doubt
If blossoms can be born again
When once the art is out.
When they begin,
If Robins may --
I always had a fear
I did not tell, it was their last
Experiment last year.

When it is May,
If May return --
Had nobody a pang
Lest on a face so beautiful
He might not look again?

If I am there --
One does not know
What party one may be
Tomorrow,--but if I am there
I take back all I say!


59 - It Will Be Summer Eventually

It will be Summer eventually --
Ladies with parasols,
Sauntering gentlemen with canes,
And little girls with dolls

Will tint the pallid landscape
As 'twere a bright bouquet,
Though drifted deep in Parian
The village lies to-day.

The lilacs, bending many a year,
Will sway with purple load;
The bees will not despise the tune
Their forefathers have hummed;

The wild rose redden in the bog,
The aster on the hill
Her everlasting fashion set,
And covenant gentians frill,

Till summer folds her miracle
As women do their gown,
Or priest adjust the symbols
When sacrament is done.


60 - Is It True, Dear Sue?

Is it true, dear Sue?
Are there Two?
I shouldn't like to come
For fear of joggling Him!
If you could shut Him up
In a coffee cup,
Or tie Him to a pin
Till I get in,
Or make Him fast
To Pussy's fist,
Hist! Whist!
I'd come!


61 - The Wind Did Come From the Orchard Today

The Wind did not come from the orchard today,
Further than that, --
Nor stop to play with the hay,
Nor threaten a hat.
He's a transitive fellow, very --
Rely on that.

If he leave a burr at the door,
We know he has climbed a fir, --
But the fir is where? Declare --
Were you ever there?
If he brings odours of clovers,
And that is his business not ours,
He has been with the mowers,
Whetting away the hours
To sweet pauses of hay--his way
Of a June day.

If he fling sand and pebble,
Little boys' hats and stubble,
With an occasional steeple,
And a hoarse "Get out of the way, I say!"
Who'd be the fool to stay? Would you?
Say, would you be the fool to stay?


62 - Within My Garden Rides a Bird

Within my garden rides a bird
Upon a single wheel,
Whose spokes a dizzy music make
As 'twere a traveling mill.

He never stops, but slackens
Above the ripest rose,
Partakes without alighting,
And praises as he goes;

Till every spice is tasted,
And then his fairy gig
Reels in remoter atmospheres,
And I rejoin my dog.

And he and I perplex us
If positive 'twere we --
Or bore the garden in the brain
This curiosity?

But he, the best logician,
Refers my duller eye
To just vibrating blossoms
An exquisite reply!


63 - My Soul Accused Me

My soul accused me
And I quailed
As tongues of diamond
Had reviled.

All else accused me
And I smiled,
My soul that morning
Was my friend.

Her favor is the best disdain
Toward artifice of Time of men,
But her disdain--'twere cooler bear
A finger of enameled fire!


64 - The Heart is the Capital of the Mind

The Heart is the capital of the Mind,
The Mind is a single State:
The Heart and the Mind together make
A single continent.

One--is the population --
Numerous enough;
This ecstatic nation
Seek--it is Yourself.