Saturday, April 07, 2012

Poem: Emily Dickinson

Have I ever posted a poem by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), a poet I mention in the post prior to this one, and one of the best and most original to ever have been born on US soil? Of course I have, how could I not? I did so back in 2007, for Earth Day, and again in 2009, when blogging about "snow" poems. Dickinson's oeuvre contains poems about so many different topics, written in such an inventive, allusive manner, that you could (someone probably has) designate each day for several years to a given theme, and then find a poem of hers to illuminate--since illustrate doesn't begin to capture what her poetry does--it.

Among her several poems specifically mentioning poetry, there is this gem, that I recommend reading aloud to get its full savor.  It's meaning is self-explanatory, and anyone who loves reading (and anyone who, as some of my recent posts have shown, who's studying the neuroscientific effects of imaginative writing) knows what's the Belle of Amherst is saying deep in her or his heart: there really are few vehicles out there capable of carrying us away, as well as deep inside ourselves, as poems and other forms of literature can and often do.


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         5
  Without oppress of toll; 
How frugal is the chariot 
  That bears a human soul!

Copyright © Emily Dickinson, "There is no frigate like a book," from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, with an introduction by her niece, Martha Dickinson Bianchi, Boston: Little Brown & Company, 1924, published by, 2000.

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