New Best Friend: Emily Dickinson

I don’t think I ever quite appreciated Emily Dickinson.  In fact, I don’t think I ever really understood what her poetry was all about.  But in the last four months, I’ve lost three family members unexpectedly (including my own dad), and I’ve discovered the words to describe my feelings in reading Dickinson’s poetry.  She helps me better understand death, and – more importantly – what life means.  As a friend of mine likes to say, “Emily really gets it.”  Tonight, this one caught my attention…

“She died, – this was the way she died;
And when her breath was done,
Took up her simple wardrobe
And started for the sun.
Her little figure at the gate
The angels must have spied,
Since I could never find her
Upon the mortal side.”
– Emily Dickinson

For many – ask my lit students – poetry is scary – it’s foreign and written in a code they don’t think they understand.  But really poetry doesn’t have to be so intimidating.  You either get it or you don’t.  If you don’t get it, that’s okay.  You get nothing from it… then you move on.  I skip through the pages of Dickinson’s poetry until I read one that makes me say, “Ah ha!” or “Yes, I hear you”… the one that helps me not so afraid of death, not so afraid for the loved ones I lost, and not so afraid to go on living without them…


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