The Poets

April 29, 2011

Of a Poetess

Of a Poetess

A Confession of an Emily Dickinson Devotee

The shadows speak to her of Him

And everything Divine,

And so she writes in metered hymn
The depth of every sign.

The sun and moon and vaulted skies

Are symbols she will say-
She sees the Meaning they disguise

And writes what they portray.

That Meaning (set in cryptic verse)

Transcends what I can see,

And though I have the poet’s thirst

I cannot be as she:

For God has opened up her sight

To see internal things-

With ease she sees the purer light,

I see it and it stings.

Of the Poem (Parameters and a Side Note)


Meter: Alternates between a tetrameter (8 syllables per line), and a trimeter (6 syllables)
Rhyme Scheme: ababcdcd per individual stanza


To say Emily Dickinson is an incredible poet is not saying enough. Of course, and I say this respectfully of her, she’s just as human as the next person.

Here’s the deal, though … her passion and talent for poetry, coupled with her ability to perceive the depths of the transcendental in the exceedingly mundane, is a level scarcely reached by most people (and to give expression of it in verse, rarer still).

She composed roughly 1,800 poems in her lifetime. It was only when she died that those who were close to her came to discover her works. This suggests to me that not only did she care little for accolade, but that she cared for poetry for poetry’s sake. A true poet!Her commitment to poetry is chillingly inspiring. I’ve said this before, and I’ll unhesitatingly say it again: She, above any poet I’ve come to know or study thus far, is what a poet ought to be. She is to poetry what Kierkegaard is to existentialism.


lorely said...

Her sight is definitely opened now...I agree there is something about her...she could see what others could not...I can only wish to have that much solitude to see what others can not see... Good Write!

John W. May said...

lorely. Although Dickinson’s poetic mind is on a level I can hardly fathom, I will say this: she inspires in me a desire to achieve it! Thanks for stopping by.

Erin O'Riordan said...

She is undoubtedly the greatest of American poets - and I say this with complete and total respect for Walt Whitman.

Livia Salome Gnos said...

Emily was able to go to the end of the world without even leaving her room...

PJ said...

One of the greats, yes.


truly beautiful homage to a truly magnificent poet - she inspires us all, all who read her in ways known and unknown i think - thanks so much for sharing -

Rekha said...

A tribute befitting a poetess who inspires you...not all of us possess unflagging passion and devotion to transcend the invisible barriers to excellence but we can try...

John W. May said...

Erin O'Riordan. Hey, thanks for stopping by. You’re so right- Whitman is a great poet, and I respect him very much so, but Dickinson is so incredible a poet that she rose right up to his level of fame despite the fact that she was, until that point, unknown …

Livia Salome Gnos. I totally agree! On the one hand, person can travel the whole world and never know it; on the other, they may have never left their local confines and yet, despite their apparent limited scope, know the world.

PJ. Indeed. I have three favorites, and she’s one of them (the others being Milton and Yeats).

GYPSYWOMAN. Whenever I feel like I need poetic inspiration I go to her works- and it never fails …

Rekha. Her level of creativity is definitely something worth aspiring to (and, if I might humbly say so, something we have the ability to achieve) … thanks for coming by.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Lovely tribute.

As of April 9th, 2010