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The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
1339

A Bee his burnished Carriage
Drove boldly to a Rose—
Combinedly alighting—
Himself—his Carriage was—
The Rose received his visit
With frank tranquillity
Withholding not a Crescent
To his Cupidity—
Their Moment consummated—
Remained for him—to flee—
Remained for her—of rapture
But the humility.
328

A Bird came down the Walk—
He did not know I saw—
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,

And then he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass—

He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all abroa—
They looked like frightened Beads, I thought—
He stirred his velvet head

Like one in danger, Cautious,
I offered him a Crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home—

Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam—
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon,
Leap, plashless as they swim.
229

A Burdock—clawed my Gown—
Not Burdock’s—blame—
But mine—
Who went too near
The Burdock’s Den—

A Bog—affronts my shoe—
What else have Bogs—to do—
The only Trade they know—
The splashing Men!
Ah, pity—then!

’Tis Minnows can despise!
The Elephant’s—calm eyes
Look further on!
1649

A Cap of Lead across the sky
Was tight and surly drawn
We could not find the mighty Face
The Figure was withdrawn—

A Chill came up as from a shaft
Our noon became a well
A Thunder storm combines the charms
Of Winter and of Hell.
421

A Charm invests a face
Imperfectly beheld—
The Lady dare not lift her Veil
For fear it be dispelled—

But peers beyond her mesh—
And wishes—and denies—
Lest Interview—annul a want
That Image—satisfies—
1443

A chilly Peace infests the Grass
The Sun respectful lies—
Not any Trance of industry
These shadows scrutinize—

Whose Allies go no more astray
For service or for Glee—
But all mankind deliver here
From whatsoever sea—
287

A Clock stopped—
Not the Mantel’s—
Geneva’s farthest skill
Can’t put the puppet bowing—
That just now dangled still—

An awe came on the Trinket!
The Figures hunched, with pain—
Then quivered out of Decimals—
Into Degreeless Noon—

It will not stir for Doctors—
This Pendulum of snow—
This Shopman importunes it—
While cool—concernless No—

Nods from the Gilded pointers—
Nods from the Seconds slim—
Decades of Arrogance between
The Dial life—
And Him—
895

A Cloud withdrew from the Sky
Superior Glory be
But that Cloud and its Auxiliaries
Are forever lost to me

Had I but further scanned
Had I secured the Glow
In an Hermetic Memory
It had availed me now.

Never to pass the Angel
With a glance and a Bow
Till I am firm in Heaven
Is my intention now.
943

A Coffin—is a small Domain,
Yet able to contain
A Citizen of Paradise
In it diminished Plane.

A Grave—is a restricted Breadth—
Yet ampler than the Sun—
And all the Seas He populates
And Lands He looks upon

To Him who on its small Repose
Bestows a single Friend—
Circumference without Relief—
Or Estimate—or End—
1453

A Counterfeit—a Plated Person—
I would not be—
Whatever strata of Iniquity
My Nature underlie—
Truth is good Health—and Safety, and the Sky.
How meagre, what an Exile—is a Lie,
And Vocal—when we die—
1710

A curious Cloud surprised the Sky,
’Twas like a sheet with Horns;
The sheet was Blue—
The Antlers Gray—
It almost touched the lawns.

So low it leaned—then statelier drew—
And trailed like robes away,
A Queen adown a satin aisle
Had not the majesty.
87

A darting fear—a pomp—a tear—
A waking on a morn
To find that what one waked for,
Inhales the different dawn.
42

A Day! Help! Help! Another Day!
Your prayers, oh Passer by!
From such a common ball as this
Might date a Victory!
From marshallings as simple
The flags of nations swang.
Steady—my soul: What issues
Upon thine arrow hang!
816

A Death blow is a Life blow to Some
Who till they died, did not alive become—
Who had they lived, had died but when
They died, Vitality begun.
1216

A Deed knocks first at Thought
And then—it knocks at Will—
That is the manufacturing spot
And Will at Home and well

It then goes out an Act
Or is entombed so still
That only to the ear of God
Its Doom is audible—
1437

A Dew sufficed itself—
And satisfied a Leaf
And felt “how vast a destiny”—
“How trivial is Life!”

The Sun went out to work—
The Day went out to play
And not again that Dew be seen
By Physiognomy

Whether by Day Abducted
Or emptied by the Sun
Into the Sea in passing
Eternally unknown

Attested to this Day
That awful Tragedy
By Transport’s instability
And Doom’s celerity.
1108

A Diamond on the Hand
To Custom Common grown
Subsides from its significance
The Gem were best unknown—
Within a Seller’s Shrine
How many sight and sigh
And cannot, but are mad for fear
That any other buy.
1489

A Dimple in the Tomb
Makes that ferocious Room
A Home—
953

A Door just opened on a street—
I—lost—was passing by—
An instant’s Width of Warmth disclosed—
And Wealth—and Company.

The Door as instant shut—And I—
I—lost—was passing by—
Lost doubly—but by contrast—most—
Informing—misery—
859

A doubt if it be Us
Assists the staggering Mind
In an extremer Anguish
Until it footing find.

An Unreality is lent,
A merciful Mirage
That makes the living possible
While it suspends the lives.
794

A Drop Fell on the Apple Tree—
Another—on the Roof—
A Half a Dozen kissed the Eaves—
And made the Gables laugh—

A few went out to help the Brook
That went to help the Sea—
Myself Conjectured were they Pearls—
What Necklace could be—

The Dust replaced, in Hoisted Roads—
The Birds jocoser sung—
The Sunshine threw his Hat away—
The Bushes—spangles flung—

The Breezes brought dejected Lutes—
And bathed them in the Glee—
Then Orient showed a single Flag,
And signed the Fete away—
1628

A Drunkard cannot meet a Cork
Without a Revery—
And so encountering a Fly
This January Day
Jamaicas of Remembrance stir
That send me reeling in—
The moderate drinker of Delight
Does not deserve the spring—
Of juleps, part are the Jug
And more are in the joy—
Your connoisseur in Liquours
Consults the Bumble Bee—
566

A Dying Tiger—moaned for Drink—
I hunted all the Sand—
I caught the Dripping of a Rock
And bore it in my Hand—

His Mighty *****—in death were thick—
But searching—I could see
A Vision on the Retina
Of Water—and of me—

’Twas not my blame—who sped too slow—
’Twas not his blame—who died
While I was reaching him—
But ’twas—the fact that He was dead—
1711

A face devoid of love or grace,
A hateful, hard, successful face,
A face with which a stone
Would feel as thoroughly at ease
As were they old acquaintances—
First time together thrown.
1524

A faded Boy—in sallow Clothes
Who drove a lonesome Cow
To pastures of Oblivion—
A statesman’s Embryo—

The Boys that whistled are extinct—
The Cows that fed and thanked
Remanded to a Ballad’s Barn
Or Clover’s Retrospect—
161

A feather from the Whippoorwill
That everlasting—sings!
Whose galleries—are Sunrise—
Whose Opera—the Springs—
Whose Emerald Nest the Ages spin
Of mellow—murmuring thread—
Whose Beryl Egg, what Schoolboys hunt
In “Recess”—Overhead!
1407

A Field of Stubble, lying sere
Beneath the second Sun—
Its Toils to Brindled People ******—
Its Triumphs—to the Bin—
Accosted by a timid Bird
Irresolute of Alms—
Is often seen—but seldom felt,
On our New England Farms—
702

A first Mute Coming—
In the Stranger’s House—
A first fair Going—
When the Bells rejoice—

A first Exchange—of
What hath mingled—been—
For Lot—exhibited to
Faith—alone—
1621

A Flower will not trouble her, it has so small a Foot,
And yet if you compare the Lasts,
Hers is the smallest Boot—
1154

A full fed Rose on meals of Tint
A Dinner for a Bee
In process of the Noon became -
Each bright Mortality
The Forfeit is of Creature fair
Itself, adored before
Submitting for our unknown sake
To be esteemed no more—
173

A fuzzy fellow, without feet,
Yet doth exceeding run!
Of velvet, is his Countenance,
And his Complexion, dun!

Sometime, he dwelleth in the grass!
Sometime, upon a bough,
From which he doth descend in plush
Upon the Passer-by!

All this in summer.
But when winds alarm the Forest Folk,
He taketh Damask Residence—
And struts in sewing silk!

Then, finer than a Lady,
Emerges in the spring!
A Feather on each shoulder!
You’d scarce recognize him!

By Men, yclept Caterpillar!
By me! But who am I,
To tell the pretty secret
Of the Butterfly!
1123

A great Hope fell
You heard no noise
The Ruin was within
Oh cunning wreck that told no tale
And let no Witness in

The mind was built for mighty Freight
For dread occasion planned
How often foundering at Sea
Ostensibly, on Land

A not admitting of the wound
Until it grew so wide
That all my Life had entered it
And there were troughs beside

A closing of the simple lid
That opened to the sun
Until the tender Carpenter
Perpetual nail it down—
353

A happy lip—breaks sudden—
It doesn’t state you how
It contemplated—smiling—
Just consummated—now—
But this one, wears its merriment
So patient—like a pain—
Fresh gilded—to elude the eyes
Unqualified, to scan—
399

A House upon the Height—
That Wagon never reached—
No Dead, were ever carried down—
No Peddler’s Cart—approached—

Whose Chimney never smoked—
Whose Windows—Night and Morn—
Caught Sunrise first—and Sunset—last—
Then—held an Empty Pane—

Whose fate—Conjecture knew—
No other neighbor—did—
And what it was—we never lisped—
Because He—never told—
74

A Lady red—amid the Hill
Her annual secret keeps!
A Lady white, within the Field
In placid Lily sleeps!

The tidy Breezes, with their Brooms—
Sweep vale—and hill—and tree!
Prithee, My pretty Housewives!
Who may expected be?

The Neighbors do not yet suspect!
The Woods exchange a smile!
Orchard, and Buttercup, and Bird—
In such a little while!

And yet, how still the Landscape stands!
How nonchalant the Hedge!
As if the “Resurrection”
Were nothing very strange!
1650

A lane of Yellow led the eye
Unto a Purple Wood
Whose soft inhabitants to be
Surpasses solitude
If Bird the silence contradict
Or flower presume to show
In that low summer of the West
Impossible to know—
1639

A Letter is a joy of Earth—
It is denied the Gods—
812

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period—
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest ***** you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay—

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.
159

A little bread—a crust—a crumb—
A little trust—a demijohn—
Can keep the soul alive—
Not portly, mind! but breathing—warm—
Conscious—as old Napoleon,
The night before the Crown!

A modest lot—A fame petite—
A brief Campaign of sting and sweet
Is plenty! Is enough!
A Sailor’s business is the shore!
A Soldier’s—*****! Who asketh more,
Must seek the neighboring life!
1185

A little Dog that wags his tail
And knows no other joy
Of such a little Dog am I
Reminded by a Boy

Who gambols all the living Day
Without an earthly cause
Because he is a little Boy
I honestly suppose—

The Cat that in the Corner dwells
Her martial Day forgot
The Mouse but a Tradition now
Of her desireless Lot

Another class remind me
Who neither please nor play
But not to make a “bit of noise”
Beseech each little Boy—
59

A little East of Jordan,
Evangelists record,
A Gymnast and an Angel
Did wrestle long and hard—

Till morning touching mountain—
And Jacob, waxing strong,
The Angel begged permission
To Breakfast—to return—

Not so, said cunning Jacob!
“I will not let thee go
Except thou bless me”—Stranger!
The which acceded to—

Light swung the silver fleeces
“Peniel” Hills beyond,
And the bewildered Gymnast
Found he had worsted God!
1333

A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown—
Who ponders this tremendous scene—
This whole Experiment of Green—
As if it were his own!
1467

A little overflowing word
That any, hearing, had inferred
For Ardor or for Tears,
Though Generations pass away,
Traditions ripen and decay,
As eloquent appears—
647

A little Road—not made of Man—
Enabled of the Eye—
Accessible to Thill of Bee—
Or Cart of Butterfly—

If Town it have—beyond itself—
’Tis that—I cannot say—
I only know—no Curricle that rumble there
Bear Me—
1444

A little Snow was here and there
Disseminated in her Hair—
Since she and I had met and played
Decade had gathered to Decade—

But Time had added not obtained
Impregnable the Rose
For summer too indelible
Too obdurate for Snows—
654

A long—long Sleep—A famous—Sleep—
That makes no show for Morn—
By Stretch of Limb—or stir of Lid—
An independent One—

Was ever idleness like This?
Upon a Bank of Stone
To bask the Centuries away—
Nor once look up—for Noon?
959

A loss of something ever felt I—
The first that I could recollect
Bereft I was—of what I knew not
Too young that any should suspect

A Mourner walked among the children
I notwithstanding went about
As one bemoaning a Dominion
Itself the only Prince cast out—

Elder, Today, a session wiser
And fainter, too, as Wiseness is—
I find myself still softly searching
For my Delinguent Palaces—

And a Suspicion, like a Finger
Touches my Forehead now and then
That I am looking oppositely
For the site of the Kingdom of Heaven—
952

A Man may make a Remark—
In itself—a quiet thing
That may furnish the Fuse unto a Spark
In dormant nature—lain—

Let us deport—with skill—
Let us discourse—with care—
Powder exists in Charcoal—
Before it exists in Fire.
283

A Mien to move a Queen—
Half Child—Half Heroine—
An Orleans in the Eye
That puts its manner by
For humbler Company
When none are near
Even a Tear—
Its frequent Visitor—

A Bonnet like a Duke—
And yet a Wren’s Peruke
Were not so shy
Of Goer by—
And Hands—so slight—
They would elate a Sprite
With Merriment—

A Voice that Alters—Low
And on the Ear can go
Like Let of Snow—
Or shift supreme—
As tone of Realm
On Subjects Diadem—

Too small—to fear—
Too distant—to endear—
And so Men Compromise
And just—revere—
1117

A Mine there is no Man would own
But must it be conferred,
Demeaning by exclusive wealth
A Universe beside—

Potosi never to be spent
But hoarded in the mind
What Misers wring their hands tonight
For Indies in the Ground!
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