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Happy Birthday, ED
Posted by: Talia (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 10, 2006 01:36PM

Poem: "After great pain, a formal feeling comes" by Emily Dickinson. Public domain.

After great pain, a formal feeling comes

After great pain, a formal feeling comes
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs
The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought
A Wooden way
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone

This is the hour of Lead
Remembered, if outlived
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow
First Chill then Stupor then the letting go

It's the birthday of the poet Emily Dickinson, (books by this author) born in Amherst, Massachusetts (1830). She grew up at a time when people in New England were beginning to struggle with religion. Many had fallen away from the traditional Puritan faith, and so a religious revival movement was sweeping the area, bringing people back to the church. Dickinson remained agnostic, even after her father and sister experienced a conversion at a revival meeting in 1850, when Dickinson was 20 years old. She wrote in a letter, "Christ is calling everyone here, all my companions have answered, even my darling [sister] believes she loves, and trusts [Jesus], and I am standing alone in rebellion."
Dickinson spent one year in seminary school at Mount Holyoke, and then she moved back in with her parents to take care of the family household while her mother recovered from a nervous breakdown. She was not happy about the arrangement. She enjoyed gardening, but she hated to clean and absolutely refused to dust. What she disliked most of all about her father's house was the many visitors. Her father was one of the most prominent men in town, and people stopped by every day to talk politics, to get legal advice, and just to pay tribute. Dickinson thought the visits extremely tedious.
As Dickinson took care of her family household, she watched as her friends got married and moved away. She grew increasingly isolated from her community, in no small part because she didn't attend church. Many biographers have tried to find some reason why Dickinson withdrew from the world, suggesting that she may have fallen in love with a man who rejected her. But there has never been any definite evidence for that theory.
What we do know is that she spent most of her adult life in her corner bedroom, which 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. When an editor named Thomas Wentworth Higginson asked her what she looked like, she wrote back, "I ... am small, like the wren; and my hair is bold, like the chestnut burr; and my eyes, like the sherry in the glass that the guest leaves."
She wrote on scraps of paper and old grocery lists, compiled her poetry and tucked it away neatly in her desk drawer. After a few years of writing, she began collecting her handwritten poems into packets of folded paper, stitching the spines herself.
Dickinson eventually wrote more than 1,700 poems, most of them composed during the Civil War. She wrote 366 poems in 1862 alone, about one per day. It wasn't until 1955 that a more complete edition of her poetry was published, with the original punctuation intact. She's now considered the first great American lyric poet, and one of the greatest American poets ever.

Re: Happy Birthday, ED
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 10, 2006 02:25PM

Copies of all of the 1700 poems are available here: [] />
Also many of her poems have been set to music, as those exhibited here: [] />
A Solemn Thing It Was

A solemn thing it was, I said,
A woman white to be,
And wear, if God should count me fit,
Her hallowed mystery.

A timid thing to drop a life
Into the purple well,
Too plummetless that it comes back
Eternity until.


Re: Happy Birthday, ED
Posted by: Talia (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 10, 2006 07:26PM

Very nice. Now all we need is an music videos for poetry.

Re: Happy Birthday, ED
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 10, 2006 07:41PM

Well, she wrote the words and music to "The Yellow Rose of Texas", "Mary Had A Little Lamb", and "The Ballad of Gilligan's Island" so that's to be expected

Re: Happy Birthday, ED
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 11, 2006 02:34AM

Well, she wrote the words and music to "The Yellow Rose of Texas", "Mary Had A Little Lamb", and "The Ballad of Gilligan's Island" so that's to be expected

I think she invented Falstaff too. (the character, not the beer)


Les, who are you?
Posted by: Melanie2 (71.165.33.---)
Date: July 22, 2007 01:43PM

Sorry to be so personal, but your posts and input are always spot on. I'm curious as to your background.

(Yes, I'm new to this board.)

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