April Poetry: Emily Dickinson

In the past, I’ve celebrated National Poetry month by posting a poem a day through the month of April. But over the last two years, I’ve found that posting schedule a bit too demanding for my current available time. Plus, I started to run out of poems I hadn’t already posted.

So here’s my plan for this year. Each week I’ll write up a little about why I love a favorite poet and then post a few of their poems that I especially like. We’ll see how it goes.

When I was young–maybe 11 or 12? my dad came back from a trip to the East Coast* and brought home presents for all of us. Mine was a little tiny pocket book of Emily Dickinson’s poetry–this one, to be exact. It was my first encounter with ‘grownup’ poetry. I didn’t understand most of it, but I loved it.

Incidentally, I’ve always been glad that my dad got me a version that has the poems with the original punctuation, rather than the edited versions.

I love Emily Dickinson for the vivid imagery, for the sheer beauty of the language. I love her for my twelve-year-old self, first discovering the glories of poetry. I don’t read her as often as I used to, and the poems that were once my favorites are not anymore. But as I was looking for poems to post here, I found some that I had never noticed before, because I wasn’t ready for them yet. And so I think I’ll always love Dickinson, and I’ll find that she has something different to say to me throughout my life.

april poetry

“I taste a liquor never brewed”

I taste a liquor never brewed –
From Tankards scooped in Pearl –
Not all the Frankfort Berries
Yield such an Alcohol!

Inebriate of air – am I –
And Debauchee of Dew –
Reeling – thro’ 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!

* Note: I’m not sure why he was going to the East Coast without us. Maybe it was one of the times when we thought we were moving back to Maine?

Emily Dickinson here, previously: I never saw a Moor; We grow accustomed to the Dark; Because I could not stop for Death

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