After great pain, a formal feeling comes—
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs—
The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round—
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought—
A Wooden way
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone—

This is the hour of Lead—
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow—
First—Chill—then Stupor—then the letting go

— Emily Dickinson

I can wade Grief—
Whole pools of it—
I’m used to that—
But the least push of Joy
Breaks up my feet—
And I tip—drunken—
Let no pebble—smile—
‘Twas the New Liquor—
That was all!

Power is only Pain—
Stranded, thro’ Discipline,
Till Weights—will hang—
Give Balm—to Giants—
And they’ll wilt, like Men—
Give Himmaleh—
They’ll Carry—Him!

— Emily Dickinson

If you saw a bullet hit a Bird – and he told you was’nt shot – you might weep at his courtesy, but you would certainly doubt his word.

One drop more from the gash that stains your Daisy’s bosom – then you would believe? Thomas’ faith in Anatomy, was stronger than his faith in faith. God made me – Master – I did’nt be – myself. I don’t know how it was done. He built the heart in me – Bye and bye it outgrew me – and like the little mother – with the big child – I got tired holding him.

— Emily Dickinson, excerpt from the Master letters
Oh how the sailor strains, when his boat is filling – Oh how the dying tug, till the angel comes. Master – open your life wide, and take me in forever, I will never be tired – I will never be noisy when you want to be still.
— Emily Dickinson, excerpt from the Master letters
There is a pain — so utter —
It swallows substance up —
Then covers the Abyss with Trance —
So Memory can step
Around — across — upon it —
As one within a Swoon —
Goes safely — where an open eye —
Would drop Him — Bone by Bone.
— Emily Dickinson

It might be lonelier
Without the Loneliness —
I’m so accustomed to my Fate —
Perhaps the Other — Peace —

Would interrupt the Dark —
And crowd the little Room —
Too scant — by Cubits — to contain
The Sacrament — of Him —

I am not used to Hope —
It might intrude upon —
Its sweet parade — blaspheme the place —
Ordained to Suffering —

It might be easier
To fail — with Land in Sight —
Than gain — My Blue Peninsula —
To perish — of Delight —

— Emily Dickinson

Crumbling is not an instant’s Act
A fundamental pause
Dilapidation’s processes
Are organized Decays.

'Tis first a Cobweb on the Soul
A Cuticle of Dust
A Borer in the Axis
An Elemental Rust —

Ruin is formal — Devil’s work
Consecutive and slow —
Fail in an instant, no man did
Slipping — is Crash’s law.

— Emily Dickinson

Ah, Necromancy Sweet!
Ah, Wizard erudite!
Teach me the skill,

That I instil the pain
Surgeons assuage in vain,
Nor Herb of all the plain
Can Heal!

— Emily Dickinson

All but Death, can be Adjusted —
Dynasties repaired —
Systems — settled in their Sockets —
Citadels — dissolved —

Wastes of Lives — resown with Colors
By Succeeding Springs —
Death — unto itself — Exception —
Is exempt from Change —

— Emily Dickinson

A wounded deer leaps highest,
I’ve heard the hunter tell;
‘T is but the ecstasy of death,
And then the brake is still.

The smitten rock that gushes,
The trampled steel that springs:
A cheek is always redder
Just where the hectic stings!

Mirth is the mail of anguish,
In which it cautions arm,
Lest anybody spy the blood
And “You’re hurt” exclaim!

— Emily Dickinson