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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Emily Dickinson, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 44
1. Poetry Friday: The farthest thunder that I heard by Emily Dickinson

The farthest thunder that I heard
Was nearer than the sky,
And rumbles still, though torrid noons
Have lain their missiles by.
The lightning that preceded it
Struck no one but myself,
But I would not exchange the bolt
For all the rest of life.
Indebtedness to oxygen
The chemist may repay,
But not the obligation
To electricity.
It founds the homes and decks the days,
And every clamor bright
Is but the gleam concomitant
Of that waylaying light.
The thought is quiet as a flake,-
A crash without a sound;
How life’s reverberation
Its explanation found!

- Emily Dickinson

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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2. What Workday Snacks Can Help Writers?

carrots (1)At the beginning of a new year, many people often make resolutions to follow a healthy diet. mental_floss compiled a list of the “favorite workday snacks” of nine different authors. Jurassic Park novelist Michael Crichton enjoyed ham sandwiches while We Are Pirates author Daniel Handler enjoys raw carrots.

The other seven writers include Agatha Christie, Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac, John SteinbeckStephen King, Emily Dickinson, and H.P. Lovecraft. What do you think? Which snacks help you to stay focused while you’re writing?

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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3. Poetry Friday: Experiment escorts us last by Emily Dickinson

Experiment escorts us last -
His pungent company
Will not allow an Axiom
An Opportunity -
- Emily Dickinson

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.
View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.
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4. No Frigate like a Book - Joan Lennon

October 8, 1940, after an air raid on London 
(AP photo)

There is no Frigate like a Book

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
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul –

(This version of the poem is found on the Poetry Foundation website.)

Joan Lennon's website.
Joan Lennon's blog.

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5. Poetry Friday: If I can stop one heart from breaking by Emily Dickinson

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

- Emily Dickinson

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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6. My Writing and Reading Life:Patricia Hruby Powell

Patricia Hruby Powell danced throughout the Americas and Europe with her dance company, One Plus One, before becoming a writer of children's books. She is the author of Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, an extraordinary portrait of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker written in exuberant verse. She lives in Champaign, Illinois. You can visit her online at talesforallages.com.

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7. Poetry Friday: Dear March by Emily Dickinson

Dear March, come in!
How glad I am!
I looked for you before.
Put down your hat-
You must have walked-
How out of breath you are!
Dear March, how are you?
And the rest?
Did you leave Nature well?
Oh, March, come right upstairs with me,
I have so much to tell!

I got your letter, and the bird's;
The maples never knew
That you were coming,-I declare,
How red their faces grew!
But, March, forgive me-
And all those hills
You left for me to hue;
There was no purple suitable,
You took it all with you.

Who knocks? That April!
Lock the door!
I will not be pursued!
He stayed away a year, to call
When I am occupied.
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come,
That blame is just as dear as praise
And praise as mere as blame.

- Emily Dickinson

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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8. Emily Dickinson Digital Archive

I feel like I haven’t been reading much lately but I have. I have read all the books I had scheduled to read for October and will read my just in case choice, Hecuba by Euripides, this weekend. I’ve been reading lots of articles for my historical fiction MOOC and watching lectures. I am really impressed with the quality of the class. I started reading Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks for the class and have a few other books on hand. One of them, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe, I will probably start reading tonight.

Last night I thought I’d take a break from all things historical fiction so I picked up Auden’s Dyer’s Hand, a book of essays I started long ago and then let languish. But this week seems to have gone on far too long and my brain is getting squishy. Perhaps I spent all my mental powers writing about Burke. Whatever it was, I read the first page of “The Dynamo and the Virgin” about four times and still had no idea what the heck he was talking about. It was not a good boost to my self esteem. I need a vacation. And I actually will be getting a little one. Bookman and I will be celebrating our wedding anniversary on Saturday so we decided to extend the celebration through Wednesday next week by taking a few days off. Woo! I can hardly wait.

What I really wanted to pass along tonight is a happy discovery I made today, the Emily Dickinson Archive. Dickinson’s papers are not all housed in the same place. What this digital archive does is creates a single place that gathers together online access to all of Dickinson’s digitized manuscripts. You can view the actual manuscripts and, even more amazing, is that you can do word searches on the texts if you are looking for something specific. There is also a lexicon of more than 9,000 words Dickson uses in her poems. It provides definitions when you click on a word. Neat, but what would be even more awesome is if it would also act as a concordance with links to the poems in which the word appears. Something for the Archive to work on for the future maybe!

For more details about the archive, there is a great article from the Sunday New York Times books pages. There is also an article in the Harvard Gazette.

Have fun playing!

Filed under: Books, Poetry Tagged: Emily Dickinson

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9. "Everything is contingent, of course, on what you take yourself to be."

From "James Baldwin, The Art of Fiction No. 78" at The Paris Review:

You read contemporary novels out of a sense of responsibility?

In a way. At any rate, few novelists interest me—which has nothing to do with their values. I find most of them too remote for me. The world of John Updike, for instance, does not impinge on my world. On the other hand, the world of John Cheever did engage me. Obviously, I’m not making a very significant judgment about Updike. It’s entirely subjective, what I’m saying. In the main, the concerns of most white Americans (to use that phrase) are boring, and terribly, terribly self-centered. In the worst sense. Everything is contingent, of course, on what you take yourself to be.

Are you suggesting they are less concerned, somehow, with social injustice?

No, no, you see, I don’t want to make that kind of dichotomy. I’m not asking that anybody get on picket lines or take positions. That is entirely a private matter. What I’m saying has to do with the concept of the self, and the nature of self-indulgence which seems to me to be terribly strangling, and so limited it finally becomes sterile.

And yet in your own writing you deal with personal experiences quite often.

Yes, but—and here I’m in trouble with the language again—it depends upon how you conceive of yourself. It revolves, surely, around the multiplicity of your connections. Obviously you can only deal with your life and work from the vantage point of your self. There isn’t any other vantage point, there is no other point of view. I can’t say about any of my characters that they are utter fictions. I do have a sense of what nagged my attention where and when; even in the dimmest sense I know how a character impinged on me in reality, in what we call reality, the daily world. And then, of course, imagination has something to do with it. But it has got to be triggered by something, it cannot be triggered by itself.

What is it about Emily Dickinson that moves you?

Her use of language, certainly. Her solitude, as well, and the style of that solitude. There is something very moving and in the best sense funny. She isn’t solemn. If you really want to know something about solitude, become famous. That is the turn of the screw. That solitude is practically insurmountable.

1 Comments on "Everything is contingent, of course, on what you take yourself to be.", last added: 9/17/2013
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10. “Hope is the thing with feathers”

50 Book Pledge | Book #19: Clear Skies, No Wind, 100% Visibility by Théodora Armstrong

In honour of National Poetry Month, I present “Hope is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

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11. Collaborate with William Shakespeare & Emily Dickinson Online


In a special Google Docs demonstration online, you can collaborate on a story with Charles Dickens, Friedrich Nietzsche, William Shakespeare, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe.

As you type your text into the demo box, these writers will add little flourishes and quotes to your story.

We created a short story with the help of Dickens and Nietzsche, click on the image embedded above to see the collaboration in action. Who will you write with?

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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12. Watch for It: Nobody's Secret

Coming from Chronicle, March, 2013, is Nobody's Secret. Do you like a mystery? Are you intrigued by Emily Dickinson. Find this work and enjoy!

At fifteen, Emily meets a handsome stranger, a Mr. Nobody, who only days later is discovered dead in her family's pond. With Emily's inquest, she moves through the mystery to understand and honor this man's life. Author Michaela MacColl begins each chapter with excerpts from Emily's own poems. The blending of fiction and fact is engaging in this fast page turner.

"I'm Nobody, Who are You?" Watch for it, rgz!

Nobody’s Secret
A Novel of Intrigue and Romance
by Michaela MacColl
Chronicle Books, March 2013

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13. Writing Links

Everyone Needs an Editor. Even You. :: C. J. Omololu

10 Ways to Build Long-Lasting Traffic to Your Author Website or Blog :: Jane Friedman

A Girl Who Reads :: Christina Lee

What Emily Dickinson Ate -- Coconut Cake :: The History Kitchen

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14. SPARK 18

Once again I have participated in a round of SPARK, which randomly matches artists and writers who exchange inspiration pieces and then produce response pieces over a ten-day period.  I always look forward to the challenge and to "meeting" a fellow artiste, and I've found that many of them are writers as well as painters or photographers or sculptors.  Some people just gotta express themselves!

This time I was working from two inspirations, really.  Recently my dear friend Charles Waters sent me perhaps the best compliment I will ever receive.  Charles wrote that he liked my poems in The Poetry Friday Anthology (nice enough in itself!) and then, "I do believe if e.e. cummings and Emily Dickinson had a baby it would be you."

Oh my.  If ever there was a compliment worth living up to, that's it.  I even began to hope it might somehow actually be true (no offense to my actual earthly parents), and I went and double-checked birth and death dates to see if Emily and Edward might ever have met.  (No.  Emily died eight years before e.e. was born.)  Still, I was wearing Charles's lovely speculation on my head like a crown (that's how good it made me feel) when I received this photo from Jules Rolfe, and so my response poem is all metaphysical and punctuated.

We Be

the grass is Always bluer—
the sky is Always greener—
the view of (Always) what’s to come
is better: finer: cleaner

@round the bend begins #the end—
We cannot hope to see her—
We set our sights, We claim our right
and many hopes to Be her—

Be all, end all #god and fate—
is she sky or grass or sand?
@round the bend We find the Light
if only Loose it from our hand

~Heidi Mordhorst 2012

Many thanks to Jules for her wonderful Nebraska landscape and to Charles for his generous challenge!

The Round-Up today is with Jama at
Jama's Alphabet Soup--always a tasty smorgasbord of treats. And next week I'll be your host right here; if you're planning to participate in my Solstice-themed edition of Poetry Friday, feel free to send me your links as early as you like!

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15. Poetry Friday: The daisy follows soft the sun by Emily Dickinson

The daisy follows soft the sun,
And when his golden walk is done,
Sits shyly at his feet.
He, waking, finds the flower near.
"Wherefore, marauder, art thou here?"
"Because, sir, love is sweet!"

We are the flower, Thou the sun!
Forgive us, if as days decline,
We nearer steal to Thee,-
Enamoured of the parting west,
The peace, the flight, the amethyst,
Night's possibility!

- by Emily Dickinson

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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16. Poetry Friday: We spy the Forests and the Hills by Emily Dickinson

We spy the Forests and the Hills,
The tents to Nature's Show,
Mistake the outside what we saw.

Could Commentators on the sign
Of Nature's Caravan
Obtain "admission," as a child,
Some Wednesday afternoon?

- Emily Dickinson

View all posts tagged as Emily Dickinson at Bildungsroman.

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17. Truth

Hello, friends, hope you had a creative week. I've been thinking a lot about honesty lately. Here is a thing I've learned -- if I am brave and write down the things that I'm afraid to write down, then I find that my writing stretches beyond me. Locked doors open inside me as I let the deep things I think live on the page. I find this whole bravery thing snowballs into my work. My vision clears. Writing what I think helps me. I see what is right and true. And if anything is wrong with what I am thinking that comes out to. Putting my thoughts on the page helps me get at heart of things.

I've also found all this honesty spills into my work. I am more willing to take risks. I don't feel the weight of censors or critics, and I get to the business of shaping my stories the way they want to be shaped. I'm able to make my way into the deepest water of understanding. Emily Dickinson wrote a little poem that sticks with me. "I never saw the moor. I never saw the sea. Yet know I how the heather looks and and what a wave must be. I never visited God, nor visited in heaven, but sure am I of the spot as if the chart were given." Her assurance of things unseen gives me boldness. Her truth changes me. I hope you are getting the sense of the absolute power of writing what needs to be written.

So this week, write down your secret, write down that thought you don't write down because you know it will offend others, write down your anger, your grief, write down something hidden. See what happens when you open wide the door of honesty. I'm just saying, try it. Seize the day. See you next week.

My doodle this week is a little collage. I call it "Sunrise".

The highest compact we can make with our fellow is - "Let there be truth between us two forevermore." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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18. Two Interesting Things...

...happened to me this Saturday.

I got an email from a friend, asking me if I might write a post or two about creating verse novels. Though I'm no expert, I jotted down a few things that have worked for me and planned to devote this week to writing stories through poetry.

Then the second thing:

and promptly felt like a fraud.

Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath

Stephanie is a master craftsman, a scholar, a poet, a writer extraordinaire. I had a high school English class knowledge of Sylvia before reading this book and have walked away with a real sense of her style, her drive, and her heartache. For me this book was a combination of THE DIARY OF EMILY DICKINSON, a novel I read in one sitting and wanted desperately to be real, and SAVAGE BEAUTY, the fascinating, bizarre biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay.

The Diary of Emily Dickinson   Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay

I have really had no training in poetry. Outside of my own meager reading for pleasure, I read even less in college (and my degree is in middle school English education). What I'm trying to say is I don't know much at all about this whole poetry business, and reading a book like Stephanie's firmly reminds me of this.

Last fall, when I attended a revision retreat led by Darcy Pattison, we had a brief conversation about our writing. I shared with her I had, up to that point, sold two poems to children's magazines and had a verse novel out with a few agents. "So you're a poet," she said, and I panicked. Because I'm not a well-studied, well-read mind. I'm a person who likes to play with language. I'm a person fortunate enough to have written a novel that clicked with a few people who could make something of it. That's it.

So, if you can keep that in mind, I'd be happy to talk verse novels with all of you this week.


I died for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.

...He questioned softly why I failed?
'For beauty,' I replied.
'And I for truth,-the two are one;
We brethren are,' he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a night,
We talked between the rooms,
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names.

Emily Dickinson

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20. Emily Dickinson Would Have Tweeted!

Social Media? No! People Person? Yes!

The Soul Selects Her Own Society
by Emily Dickinson

The soul selects her own society,
Then shuts the door;
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more.

Unmoved, she notes the chariot’s pausing
At her low gate;
Unmoved, an emperor is kneeling
Upon her mat.

I’ve known her from an ample nation
Choose one;
Then close the valves of her attention
Like stone.

The biggest argument I hear against social media is that it is a time drain.

In 1986, Richard B. Sewall talked about his biography of Emily Dickinson. He said she wrote “warm, loving, marvelous letters.” At the time, there were three published volumes of letters, but they represented “only about a tenth of what we know she wrote. She was a people person. Never mind that poem about selecting her own society and shutting the valves of her attention like a stone; her life revolved around people.” (Extraordinary Lives: The Art and Craft of American Biography, edited by William Zinsser. New York: American Heritage, 1986. P. 77)
Other writers of the 18th and 19th century talk about spending an hour or two a day writing letters to keep those connections with people vibrant.

It’s likely that Emily Dickinson would have loved Tweets! Especially because she was an expert in short verse! 140 characters? No problem for ED!

Connecting with People Takes Time

In other words, people connections have always taken large amounts of time for writers. Why do we think it’s any different today? We write in our caves, but in order for our writing to speak to today’s society, we must connect with others: think through ideas and discuss contemporary issues; hook up with those who can put our work in front of others; be bolstered by other writers, even as we encourage; live in the midst of a literary community that is firmly nestled within the very fibers of our nation.

If the recluse poet’s life revolved around people, why do we balk so at social media? It enables a connected life, a life that revolves around people. The medium of letters has changed to blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, but the reason we do these things hasn’t changed. Perhaps the medium also affects how shallow or deep those connections are, but that’s a different issue. Social media is social: people.

The question then becomes this: Do you want to connect with people? Are you a people person?

Are Your Tweets “Warm, loving, marvelous?”

However, social media today is easily misused. If you only think of it as a way of self-promotion, this warping of the purposes of the communication tools we use is self-destructive. It can be a self-absorbed life, which is all about “Me.” I dare you to call most tweets “warm, loving, marvelous.”

Question: I am looking for quotes from other 17th-mid20th century authors/writers/poets in which they discuss the time they spent writing letters. Any ideas?

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21. Poetry Friday: Emily Dickinson’s Letters to the World

With Jeanette Winter‘s Biblioburro selected as one of our new 2011 Spirit of PaperTigers Book Set, I have had a great time exploring more of her work. One little book that has delighted me is Emily Dickinson’s Letters to the World (Frances Foster Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002)

It tells the story of the poet’s life through her sister, and begins with, “My sister Emily was buried today.” We are shown Emily’s room, and get a glimpse of her reclusive lifestyle – and then, in the course of the up to now rather sad narration, make the wonderful discovery alongside the sister, of the drawers full of poetry that nobody knew about while Emily was alive. Beginning with “This is my letter to the world”, it is a delightful way for young readers to be introduced to her poetry ,both for the poems themselves and their context.

The final two thirds of the book are given over to extracts from Dickinson’s poetry, ending with her sister’s avowal that “the world will read your letter – your poems.”  And the whole book is a treat for anyone who loves Jeanette Winter’s illustrations. The poet’s voice is emphasised, with Emily Dickinson in her trademark white dress depicted in some way on almost every page.

Here’s the whole of one of those special poems:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Anastasia Suen at Picture Book of the Day – head on over…

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22. Folding Laundry? Walking the Dog?

Consider passing the time by listening in on the recent interview I did with Barry Eva of A Book and a Chat. Download the podcast here.

Here are some highlights and where to find them in the interview:

2:00 -- Magic tricks with Caroline the Great
3:25 -- Laura Ingalls Wilder's influence on my writing
5:40 -- Deserts: Saudi Arabia and New Mexico
9:20 -- Marmite, Vegemite, and Promite

11:00 -- Poetry in the classroom
17:40 -- Reflections on the word "poet"
19:00 -- How MAY B. came to be a verse novel
20:30 -- Emily Dickinson's poems and Gilligan's Island

23:35 -- Books I wrote before MAY B.
24:20 -- Roald Dahl's writing advice
26:20 -- Inspiration behind MAY B.
29:30 -- MAY B. and dyslexia
34:15 -- Mail order brides
36:05 -- MAY B. overview
37:03 -- sod houses

41:05 -- more on MAY as a verse novel
43:40 -- A little secret about my exposure to verse novels
44:47 -- My publication journey
49:00 -- The amazing Karen Cushman
49:35 -- The Classes of 2k11 and 2k12

53:50 -- Future projects

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23. "The dog is the noblest work of Art"

Almost midnight. I sit on the sofa, laptop on my lap. Beside me sprawls a big, beautiful, golden-haired dog. His name is Hucks and he is my best buddy. I catch his eye. "How did it get so late?" I ask him. "How could I leave my blog until the last minute?" I sigh. He sighs. He understands. He's been here with me before.

And then I get an idea. "Hey Hucks, maybe I could write about Emily and Carlo? Even though it's cataloged as fiction, it's still a true story, it's thoroughly researched and beautifully written and illustrated, and it's a wonderful introduction to Emily Dickinson's life and poetry, and it's only two days until National Poetry Month...and it's about a DOG!" He cocks his head at me. I can tell he thinks it's a great idea.

Written by Marty Rhodes Figley and illustrated by Catherine Stock in color-drenched watercolors, Emily and Carlo tells the story of the shy poet and her best friend for 16 years, her "shaggy ally," a huge, floppy, slobbery Newfoundland named Carlo. Featuring excerpts from Emily's poems and letters, it's a book about love and friendship ("I started early, took my dog, / And visited the Sea") and eventually, loss ("Carlo died...Would you instruct me now?). Kirkus Reviews called the book "a pleasing little window into Dickinson's life and an invitation to learn more about the fresh-breathed poet from Amherst."

My own shaggy ally is snoring now. I'll take that as a hint and wrap things up. Hucks and I recommend celebrating National Poetry Month by checking out Emily and Carlo. And we agree with Emily, by the way: The dog is the noblest work of Art.

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24. Web of Words: A Monster Calls

50 Book Pledge | Book #23: The Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson

I present a passage from Candlewick Press‘s A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd.

Nevertheless, the monster said, standing, the roof beams of his grandma’s office seeming to sigh with relief, that is what will happen after the third tale.

“Great,” Conor said. “Another story when there are more important things going on.”

Stories are important, the monster said. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.

“Life writing,” Conor said, sourly, under his breath.

The monster looked surprised. Indeed, it said.

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25. Poetry Friday: From cocoon forth a butterfly by Emily Dickinson

From cocoon forth a butterfly
As lady from her door
Emerged-a summer afternoon-
Repairing everywhere,

Without design, that I could trace,
Except to stray abroad
On miscellaneous enterprise
The clovers understood.

Her pretty parasol was seen
Contracting in a field
Where men made hay, then struggling hard
With an opposing cloud,

Where parties, phantom as herself,
To Nowhere seemed to go
In purposeless circumference,
As 't were a tropic show.

And notwithstanding bee that worked,
And flower that zealous blew,
This audience of idleness
Disdained them, from the sky,

Till sundown crept, a steady tide,
And men that made the hay,
And afternoon, and butterfly,
Extinguished in its sea.

- by Emily Dickinson

I posted this poem in the morning before venturing outside. Then I saw a butterfly. Then another. And another. By the end of the day, I had seen more butterflies in one day than I had seen all year. This is how my life works. Thank you, beautiful butterflies, for making me smile!

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

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