this world is not conclusiona species stands beyond -
invisible, as music -
but positive as sound -
it beckons, and it baffles
philosophy - don't know -
and through a riddle, at the last -
sagacity must go -
to guess it, puzzles scholars -
to gain it, men have borne
contempt of generations
and crucifixion, shown -
faith slips - and laughs, and rallies -
blushes, if any see -
plucks at a twig of evidence -
and asks a vane, the way -
much gesture, from the pulpit -
strong hallelujahs roll -
narcotics cannot still the tooth
that nibbles at the soul -
"This World Is Not Conclusion" by Emily Dickinson. Public domain.
Today is the birthday of "the Belle of Amherst":Emily Dickinson, born in Amherst, Massachusetts, on this date (1830). She spent most of her adult life in her corner bedroom in her father's house. The room contained a writing table, a dresser, a Franklin stove, a clock, a ruby decanter, and pictures on the wall of three writers: George Eliot, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Thomas Carlyle. Her favorite author was Shakespeare. She eventually wrote more than 1,700 poems. In the year 1862 alone, she wrote 366 poems — about one per day.
Most people think of Emily Dickinson as a slightly odd recluse, but she was in fact very outgoing in her younger years. As she became more passionate about writing poetry, she went out less and devoted her life to her verses. Over the years, scholars have come up with a lot of theories for her growing reclusiveness. Some believe it was because she was nursing a mysteriously broken heart, others think she was a closeted lesbian, and still others think she suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder. One biographer speculates that she may have suffered from epilepsy.
Emily Dickinson said: "If I read a book [and] it makes my whole body so cold no fire ever can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry."
Thanks to The Writers Almanac