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Poems by Emily Dickinson
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She attended Amherst Academy and a year at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary.
While at the seminary, Dickinson famously refused to participate in the show of evangelical conversion sweeping through her community at the time. Much of her poetry, however, meditates on heaven and the inner life, often contrasting the private moment against public religious convention. She was clearly a critic of the common practice of religion, leading many to casually label her as an atheist, yet there is no denying that she experienced a rich inner life that she understood in religious terms. While unconventional by the religious standards of her day, the argument can be made that she was a deep mystic. If one reads her poetry side-by-side with the poet-saints of India, for example, the parallels in metaphoric language and insight become obvious.
Following her return from Mount Holyoke, Emily Dickinson almost never left Amherst again, rarely even leaving the grounds of her family home. Later in life she took to dressing entirely in white.
Much is made of Dickinson's reclusive life, the fact that she never married, and the focus on death in much of her poetry, leading to descriptions of her as a morbid, sexually repressed recluse… who just happened to write amazing poetry. One can see her in this way; or, recognizing the depth of her mysticism, we can suggest that she cultivated a self-defined monastic life of contemplation and poetry.
Poems by Emily Dickinson
- As if I asked a common Alms
- At last, to be identified!
- I taste a liquor never brewed
- Some keep the Sabbath going to the Church
- 'Tis so much joy! 'Tis so much joy!
- There came a Day at Summer's full
- Dare you see a Soul at the White Heat?
- Forever -- is composed of Nows
- I see thee better -- in the Dark
- I'm ceded--I've stopped being Theirs
- Me from Myself -- to banish
- Our journey had advanced
- Take Your Heaven further on
- If Blame be my side -- forfeit Me
- It is a lonesome Glee
- The hallowing of Pain
- The Loneliness One dare not sound
- You constituted Time
- Always Mine!
- Before He comes we weigh the Time!
- I cannot buy it -- 'tis not sold
- Nature and God -- I neither knew
- It was a quiet way
- The Soul should always stand ajar
- There is a Zone whose even Years
- 'Twas my one Glory
- Between the form of Life and Life
- More than the Grave is closed to me
- Of whom so dear
- The Pile of Years is not so high
- Who has not found the Heaven--below
The Dickinson Electronic Archives
On-line resource for writings by Emily Dickinson and other members of the Dickinson family. Some areas are (frustratingly) "access restricted."