A precious — mouldering pleasure — ’tis –
To meet an Antique Book –
In just the Dress his Century wore –
A privilege — I think –
His venerable Hand to take –
And warming in our own –
A passage back — or two — to make –
To Times when he — was young –
His quaint opinions — to inspect –
His thought to ascertain
On Themes concern our mutual mind –
The Literature of Man –
What interested Scholars — most –
What Competitions ran –
When Plato — was a Certainty –
And Sophocles — a Man –
When Sappho — was a living Girl –
And Beatrice wore
The Gown that Dante — deified –
Facts Centuries before
He traverses — familiar –
As One should come to Town –
And tell you all your Dreams — were true –
He lived — where Dreams were born –
His presence is Enchantment –
You beg him not to go –
Old Volume shake their Vellum Heads
And tantalize — just so –
Do you have a Nook? Get the Daily Dickinson Nook Screensaver collection!
What would I give to see his face?
I’d give — I’d give my life — of course –
But that is not enough!
Stop just a minute — let me think!
I’d give my biggest Bobolink!
That makes two — Him — and Life!
You know who “June” is –
I’d give her –
Roses a day from Zanzibar –
And Lily tubes — like Wells –
Bees — by the furlong –
Straits of Blue
Navies of Butterflies — sailed thro’ –
And dappled Cowslip Dells –
Then I have “shares” in Primrose “Banks” –
Daffodil Dowries — spicy “Stocks” –
Dominions — broad as Dew –
Bags of Doublons — adventurous Bees
Brought me — from firmamental seas –
And Purple — from Peru –
Now — have I bought it –
Sign me the Bond!
“I vow to pay
To Her — who pledges this –
One hour — of her Sovereign’s face”!
My Kingdom’s worth of Bliss!
Ah, Moon — and Star!
You are very far –
But were no one
Farther than you –
Do you think I’d stop
For a Firmament –
Or a Cubit — or so?
I could borrow a Bonnet
Of the Lark –
And a Chamois’ Silver Boot –
And a stirrup of an Antelope –
And be with you — Tonight!
But, Moon, and Star,
Though you’re very far –
There is one — farther than you –
He — is more than a firmament — from Me –
So I can never go!
Tho’ I get home how late — how late –
So I get home – ’twill compensate –
Better will be the Ecstasy
That they have done expecting me –
When Night — descending — dumb — and dark –
They hear my unexpected knock –
Transporting must the moment be –
Brewed from decades of Agony!
To think just how the fire will burn –
Just how long-cheated eyes will turn –
To wonder what myself will say,
And what itself, will say to me –
Beguiles the Centuries of way!
The Skies can’t keep their secret!
They tell it to the Hills –
The Hills just tell the Orchards –
And they — the Daffodils!
A Bird — by chance — that goes that way –
Soft overhears the whole –
If I should bribe the little Bird –
Who knows but she would tell?
I think I won’t — however –
It’s finer — not to know –
If Summer were an Axiom –
What sorcery had Snow?
So keep your secret — Father!
I would not — if I could,
Know what the Sapphire Fellows, do,
In your new-fashioned world!
Jane writes of her visit to the two Dickinson homes, The Evergreens and The Homestead:
While The Homestead is decidedly ghost free, The Evergreens is not. … Today, the house is in a serious state of dilapidation, yet it retains most of the original contents. While dusty and seriously frayed, the chair Emerson is said to have occupied in the parlor looks as if he could emerge from another room and sit down once again to engage in conversation about the lecture he completed at Amherst College a mere 142 years ago. Yet, the house is eerie. When entering the dining room where Susan Dickinson entertained her guests, there is a noticeable drop in temperature (even in the summer). A chill hangs in the air over the table which looks as though it is set for a spectral dinner party.
I can’t think of a better recommendation for a museum visit than this:
The Evergreens is the saddest museum in America. If there are such things as ghosts, they surely walk at The Evergreens.
If I may have it when it’s dead
I will contented be;
If just as soon as breath is out
It shall belong to me,
Until they lock it in the grave,
‘T is bliss I cannot weigh,
For though they lock thee in the grave,
Myself can hold the key.
Think of it, lover! I and thee
Permitted face to face to be;
After a life, a death we’ll say, –
For death was that, and this is thee.
This was in the white of the year,
That was in the green,
Drifts were as difficult then to think
As daisies now to be seen.
Looking back is best that is left,
Or if it be before,
Retrospection is prospect’s half,
Sometimes almost more.