Emily Dickinson, poet of the interior life. Nothing about her adult appearance or habitation revealed such a militant soul. Only poems, written quietly in a room of her own, often hand-stitched in small volumes, then hidden in a drawer, revealed her true self. She did not live in time but in universals, an sensitive nature reaching out boldly from self-referral to a wider, imagined world. Dickinson died without fame; only a few poems were published in her lifetime. Her legacy was later rescued from her desk–an astonishing body of work, much of which has since appeared in piecemeal editions, sometimes with words altered by editors or publishers according to the fashion of the day.
Because I could not stop for Death, he kindly stopped for me. The carriage held but just ourselves and Immortality. We slowly drove, he knew no haste, and I had put away my labor, and my leisure too, for his civility. We passed the school, where children strove at recess, in the ring. We passed the fields of gazing grain, we passed the setting sun. Or rather, he passed us. The dews grew quivering and chill, for only gossamer my gown, my tippet only tulle. We paused before a house that seemed a swelling of the ground. The roof was scarcely visible, the cornice but a mound. Since then ’tis centuries, and yet each feels shorter than the day, I first surmised the horses’ heads, were toward eternity.