Miss Mysterious

My favourite poet, Emily Dickinson, died on this day in 1886. Here I republish my earlier tribute to her.

emily dickinson 1


 Little Miss Emily Dickinson
 cocooned
 in white silk in her sitting room.
Dreaming a web
 of words around her
 then gathering them
 back into her
 pocket
 again.
Oh why doesn't she open
 a window?
 And let the poor things fly?
Perhaps she fears
 that like the
 spider
 if she gives birth
  she'll
 die.
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Author: Michele Seminara

Poet, critic and managing editor of Verity La creative arts journal. http://verityla.com/

20 thoughts on “Miss Mysterious”

  1. Well, Higgins did tell her that her poems weren’t even “poetry.” She had many reasons to “not open the window.” I suppose we all do, and we pay either way.

    1. Hi Kelsey, good point! Perhaps we are all lucky she didn’t ‘open the window’ – I think her poetry is in part so powerful because she didn’t choose to expose herself further to public criticism, and so remained free to write what she felt. Of course there are pros and cons to both approaches! Thanks for your comment.

  2. This is so haunting and ethereal. I LOVE it. Ms. Dickinson is one of my favorites as well. I imagine her up in heaven having coffee (probably tea) with Virginia Wolf, and Jane Austen. I love the image of her putting the web back in her pocket. Beautiful, Michele.

    1. Thank you Michael – and I love your image of those fabulous ladies of letters upstairs together drinking tea! I’m just really fascinated by Emily Dickinson. I think it’s because her external life was so contained, and yet internally her mind was vast and subversive. With just pen and paper and privacy, she was able to influence so many – incredible! I wonder what she would make of her renown?

  3. A simple and elegant poem that is so effective. The spider was an excellent choice to bring out that ordinary yet subversive element and create the ‘divide’ I think you were looking for. You haven’t tried to force it, which is what gives it its organic quality, its immediacy. Love the title, too!

  4. “Perhaps she fears
    that like the
    spider
    if she gives birth
    she’ll
    die.”

    I love this. Hmmm, great selection of it. I also love how the words are laid out on the page. =)

    What is your favorite Emily Dickinson work?

    1. Hi Tanyeno, thanks for reading this poem, you are the first person to comment on the lay out of the words, which I was hoping would look a little spidery! As for Emily Dickinson, its hard to pick a favourite, but you might like this one (I love the last line):

      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

      1. Hey Michele!

        Yes, I love the layout. I feel it’s a powerful part of the piece – the visual part of the poetry – which affects it.

        In my opinion.

        I love the Emily Dickinson poem you chose as well. The last line is something beyond the poem I think, it creates a feeling, or leaves you haunted sort of.

        Lovely! 🙂

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