I taste a liquor never brewed,
From tankards scooped in pearl;
Not all the vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an alcohol!
Inebriate of air am I,
And debauchee of dew,
Reeling, through endless summer days,
From inns of molten blue.
When landlords turn the drunken bee
Out of the foxglove’s door,
When butterflies renounce their drams,
I shall but drink the more!
Till seraphs swing their snowy hats,
And saints to windows run,
To see the little tippler
Leaning against the sun!
Whether my bark went down at sea,
Whether she met with gales,
Whether to isles enchanted
She bent her docile sails;
By what mystic mooring
She is held to-day,—
This is the errand of the eye
Out upon the bay.
’T was such a little, little boat
’T was such a little, little boat
That toddled down the bay!
’T was such a gallant, gallant sea
That beckoned it away!
’T was such a greedy, greedy wave
That licked it from the coast;
Nor ever guessed the stately sails
My little craft was lost!
Adrift! A little boat adrift!
And night is coming down!
Will no one guide a little boat
Unto the nearest town?
So Sailors say - on yesterday -
Just as the dusk was brown
One little boat gave up its strife
And gurgled down and down.
So angels say - on yesterday -
Just as the dawn was red
One little boat - o'er spent with gales -
Re trimmed its masts - re decked its sails -
And shot - exultant on!
He touched me
He touched me, so I live to know
That such a day, permitted so,
I groped upon his breast;
It was a boundless place to me
And silenced as the awful sea
Put minor streams to rest.
And now I'm different from before
As if I breathed superior air
Or brushed a royal gown -
My feet too that had wandered so,
My gypsy face transfigured now
To tenderer renown.
Into this port if I might come,
Rebecca to Jerusalem
Would not so ravished turn,
Nor Persian, baffled at her shrine,
Lift such a cruxifixal sign
To her imperial sun.
I gave myself to him
I gave myself to him,
And took himself for pay.
The solemn contract of a life
Was ratified this way
The value might disappoint,
Myself a poorer prove
Than this my purchaser suspect,
The daily own of Love
Depreciates the sight;
But, 'til the merchant buy,
Still fabled, in the isles of spice
The subtle cargoes lie.
At least, 'tis mutual risk,—
Some found it mutual gain;
Sweet debt of Life,—each night to owe,
Insolvent, every noon.
I ’M wife; I ’ve finished that,
That other state;
I ’m Czar, I ’m woman now:
It ’s safer so.
How odd the girl’s life looks
Behind this soft eclipse!
I think that earth seems so
To those in heaven now.
This being comfort, then
That other kind was pain;
But why compare?
I ’m wife! stop there!
The feet of people walking home
The feet of people walking home –
With gayer sandals go –
The Crocus, till she rises
The Vassal of the snow –
The lips at Hallelujah
Long years of practice bore –
Till bye and bye, these Bargemen
Walked singing, on the shore.
Pearls are the Diver’s farthings –
Extorted from the sea –
Pinions – the Seraph’s wagon –
Pedestrian once – as we –
Night is the morning’s Canvas –
Larceny - Legacy.
Death, but our rapt attention
My figures fail to tell me
How far the village lies
Whose Peasants are the angels –
Whose Cantons dot the skies –
My Classics vail their faces –
My faith that dark adores –
Which from it’s solemn abbeys
Such Resurrection pours –
Will there really be a "Morning" ?
Is there such a thing as "Day" ?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they ?
Has it feet like Water lilies ?
Has it feathers like a Bird ?
Is it brought from famous countries
Of which I have never heard ?
Oh some Scholar! Oh some Sailor!
Oh some Wise Man from the skies!
Please to tell a little Pilgrim
Where the place called "Morning" lies!
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Emily Dickinsons' herbarium
After her death Dickinson’s sister Lavinia discovered hundreds
of poems in a box. In all she left us over 1.700 poems. Only ten
of them were published in her lifetime.
Emily Dickinson now ranks with Walt Whitman as one of the two
great names in 19th century American poetry.