Sunday Poetry – Emily Dickinson

A few weeks of one of my favourite poets, Emily Dickinson. As you can see in the picture, I have two collections of her work, The Complete Poems & a selection chosen by Ted Hughes. This is one of my favourite poems. I have a video of a 1980s documentary on Dickinson & Jane Alexander reads the poetry so beautifully, including this poem. I love that documentary, it was part of a series on American writers. I also have the episode on Sylvia Plath (which you can watch on YouTube here). I’ve watched both programs so many times. Critics & writers talk about Dickinson, including Richard Sewell, Joyce Carol Oates & Adrienne Rich. The music is also lovely, it was where I first heard the Bach cello suites. So, that’s one of the reasons why this poem has stayed in my memory. I also love the image of a person being constructed like a house & somehow attaining the “perfected Life”.

The Props assist the House
Until the House is built
And then the Props withdraw
And adequate, erect,
The House support itself
And cease to recollect
The Augur and the Carpenter –
Just such a retrospect
Hath the perfected Life –
A Past of Plank and Nail
And slowness – then the scaffolds drop
Affirming it a Soul –

2 thoughts on “Sunday Poetry – Emily Dickinson

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