Fascicle 16

Emily Dickinson

Poem 1 (J 327: 1862/1891)

1 Before I got my eye put out—
2 I liked as well to see
3 As other Creatures, that have Eyes—
4 And know no other way—

5 But were it told to me, Today,
6 That I might have the Sky
7 For mine, I tell you that my Heart
8 Would split, for size of me—

9 The Meadows—mine—
10 The Mountains—mine—
11 All Forests—Stintless Stars—
12 As much of noon, as I could take—
13 Between my finite Eyes—

14 The Motions of the Dipping Birds—
15 The Lightning's jointed Road— Morning's Amber Road—
16 For mine—to look at when I liked
17 The news would strike me dead—

18 So safer—guess—with just my soul
19 Upon the window pane
20 Where other Creatures put their Eyes
21 Incautious of the Sun—

Poem 2. (J 607: 1862/1929)

1 Of nearness to her Sundered Things
2 The Soul has special times—
3 When Dimness—looks the Oddity—
4 Distinctness—easy—seems—

5 The Shapes we buried, dwell about,
6 Familiar, in the Rooms—
7 Untarnished by the Sepulchre,
8 The Our Mouldering Playmate comes—

9 In just the Jacket that he wore—
10 Long buttoned in the Mold
11 Since we—old mornings, Children—played—
12 Divided by a world—

13 The Grave yields back her Robberies—
14 The Years, our pilfered Things—
15 Bright Knots of Apparitions
16 Salute us with their wings—

17 As we—it were—that perished—
18 Themself—had just remained till we rejoin them—
19 And 'twas they, and not ourself
20 That mourned.

Poem 3 (J 279: 1861/1896)

1 Tie the Strings to my Life, My Lord,
2 Then, I am ready to go!
3 Just look at the Horses—
4 Rapid! That will do!

5 Put me in on the firmest tightest highest— side—
6 So I shall never fall—
7 For we must ride to the Judgment—
8 And it's partly, down Hill— And it's many a mile—the Hills—

9 But I never mind the steepest Bridges
10 And I never mind the Sea—
11 Held fast in Everlasting Race—
12 By my own Choice, and Thee—

13 Goodbye to the Life I used to live—
14 And the World I used to know—
15 And kiss the Hills, for me, just once—
16 Then— Now Here's a keepsake for I am ready to go!

Poem 4 (J 241: 1861/1890)

1 I like a look of Agony,
2 Because I know it's true—
3 Men do not sham Convulsion,
4 Nor simulate a Throe—

5 Death comes
6 The Eyes glaze once—and—that is Death—
7 Impossible to feign
8 The Beads upon the Forehead
9 By homely Anguish strung.

Poem 5 (J 280: 1861/1896)

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

5 And when they were all seated,
6 A Service, like a Drum—
7 Kept beating—beating—till I thought
8 My Mind was going numb—

9 And then I heard them lift a Box
10 And creak across my Soul
11 With those same Boots of lead, again,
12 Then Space began to toll,

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

17 And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
18 And I dropped down, and down—
19 And hit a World, at every plunge, Crash—
20 And Finished And Got through— knowing—then—

Poem 6 (J 281: 1861/1935)

1 'Tis so appalling—it exhilarates—
2 So over Horror, it half Captivates— So over Horror, it dumb fascinates—
3 The Soul stares after it, secure—
4 To know the worst, leaves no dread more— A Sepulchre, fears frost, no more—

5 To scan a Ghost, is faint—
6 But grappling, conquers it—
7 How easy Torment, now—
8 Suspense kept sawing so—

9 The Truth, is Bald, and Cold—
10 But that will hold—
11 If any are not sure—
12 We show them—prayer—
13 But we, who know,
14 Stop hoping, now—

15 Looking at Death, is Dying—
16 Just let go the Breath—
17 And not the pillow at your Cheek
18 So Slumbereth—

19 Others, Can wrestle—
20 Yours, is done—
21 And so of Woe, bleak dreaded—come,
22 It sets the Fright at liberty—
23 And Terror's free—
24 Gay, Ghastly, Holiday!

Poem 7. (J 282: 1861/1929)

1 How noteless Men and Pleiads, stand,
2 Until a sudden sky
3 Reveals the fact that One is rapt
4 Forever from the Eye—

5 Members of the Invisible,
6 Existing while we stare,
7 In Leagueless Opportunity,
8 O'ertakeless, as the Air—

9 Why didn't we detain Them? retain Them? detain it?
10 The Heavens with a smile,
11 Sweep by our disappointed Heads
12 Without a syllable— But deign no syllable

Poem 8 (J 242: 1861/1945)

1 When we stand on top of Things—
2 And like the Trees, look down—
3 The smoke all cleared away from it—
4 And Mirrors on the scene—

5 Just laying light—no soul will wink
6 Except it have a flaw—
7 The Sound ones, like the Hills —shall stand— —stand up—
8 No Lightening, scares away— drives away—

9 The Perfect, nowhere be afraid—
10 They bear their
11 dauntless Heads, fearless—Heads, tranquil—Heads,
12 Where others, dare not go at Noon, walk at noon,
13 Protected by their deeds—

14 The Stars dare shine occasionally
15 Upon a spotted World—
16 And Suns, go surer, for their Proof,
17 As if An Axle, held— A Muscle—held

Poem 9 (J 445: 1862/1896)

1 'Twas just this time, last year, I died.
2 I know I heard the Corn,
3 When I was carried by the Farms—
4 It had the Tassels on—

5 I thought how yellow it would look—
6 When Richard went to mill—
7 And then, I wanted to get out,
8 But something held my will.

9 I thought just how red—Apples wedged
10 The Stubble's joints between—
11 And carts stooping round the fields
12 To take the Pumpkins in—

13 I wondered which would miss me, least,
14 And when Thanksgiving, came,
15 If father'd multiply the plates—
16 To make an even Sum—

17 And would it blur the Christmas glee
18 My Stocking hand too high
19 For any Santa Claus to reach
20 The Altitude of me—

21 But this sort, grieved myself,
22 And so, I thought the other way,
23 And just this time, some perfect year—
24 Themself, should come to me—

Poem 10 (J 608: 1862/1890)

1 Afraid! Of whom am I afraid?
2 Not Death—for who is He?
3 The Porter of my father's Lodge
4 As much abasheth me!

5 Of Life? 'Twere odd I fear thing
6 That comprehendeth me
7 In one or two existences more—existences
8 Just as the case may be As Deity decree—

9 Of Resurrection? Is the East
10 Afraid to trust the Morn
11 With her fastidious forehead?
12 As soon impeach my Crown!

Poem 11 (J 446: 1862/1914)

1 He showed me Hights I never saw—
2 "Would'st Climb," —He said?
3 I said—"Not so"—
4 "With me—" He said—"With me"?
5 He showed me Secrets—Morning's Nest—
6 The Rope the Nights were put across—
7 "And now—"Would'st have me for a Guest"?
8 I could not find my "Yes".

9 And then, He brake His Life—And lo,
10 A Light, for me, did solemn glow,
11 The steadier, as my face withdrew The larger—as my face withdrew
12 And could I, further, "No"?