15 May 2010

celebrating a feminine-whimmed language thrower a century and some coins later.

i am not one to give attention to days of birth, but for some reason, death dates seem to stick to my bones. a few months ago, i was reading up briefly on the life of emily dickinson. at that time, it provoked a poem out of me.

she died the 15th of may in 1886 after 55 years of skipping her toes across this earth.

this quaint little poem of hers has always kept its place in my shirt pocket (heart ?), as if i often had one stitched overtop of my daily apparel. not so, but i have always adored the poem and its simplicity nonetheless.

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.


and then, in honor of the word-witted one, here is my late night penned poem about her from this past march in the hypothetical if-if-if styles of past u.s. poet laureates billy collins and ted kooser.

envy & emily dickinson

i would ask her what crumb of food
she first nibbled after greeting

the sun of morning through a bleary pane of glass framed
as her bedroom window on a certain thursday in july. so many

questions, i would  have for emily.
what profanity did she squeal

when her lips sunk down on the rim of a hand-fashioned mug
of tea boiled too hot, sipped too soon ? ms. dickinson, what

stood as her record for the longest
stretch of time without seeing

another human being ? days, weeks, more than that ? did she walk
around barefoot less than shoed ? funerals under her skull, did

they tell her the poems she wrote
would one day grace bookstore

shelves across an overpopulated country a century and some
coins later ? to air, i am always inquiring as to the specific kind

of flower she intended to have
hidden herself in, pinned to the fabric

of a nineteenth century, long ago disintegrated shirt, perhaps
fictionalized, this garment, its wearer too. during the grey dead

of earth in chilled winter
months, i suspect she tucked

her heart beneath uneven floorboards, dusty and creaking with
each footfall away from the probing of the outside world.

2010. jrh.


  1. oh, maybe i don't know her. i'm not familiar with that road. i can't remember if i wrote in my other comment about the woman i know who spins her own yarn. what does tracey do with her wool ?

    by the way, i saw you are a knitter ! i always love finding fellow knitters, but i only work in squares, ha.