Four Poems of Emily Dickinson (1830–86).
PAIN has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there were
A day when it was not.
It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.
HE ate and drank the precious words,
His spirit grew robust;
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was dust.
He danced along the dingy days, 5
And this bequest of wings
Was but a book. What liberty
A loosened spirit brings!
EACH life converges to some centre
Expressed or still;
Exists in every human nature
Admitted scarcely to itself, it may be, 5
For credibility’s temerity
Adored with caution, as a brittle heaven,
To reach 10
Were hopeless as the rainbow’s raiment
Yet persevered toward, surer for the distance;
Unto the saints’ slow diligence 15
Ungained, it may be, by a life’s low venture,
Eternity enables the endeavoring
BECAUSE I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
We slowly drove, he knew no haste, 5
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.
We passed the school where children played
At wrestling in a ring; 10
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.
We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible, 15
The cornice but a mound.
Since then ’t is centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity. 20