Sunday Poetry – Emily Dickinson

The last of my Dickinson selections for now. In December, I’ll post some of my favourite Christmas poems & carols.
I’ve been reading about the Gothic lately, from this piece in the Guardian about the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ann Radcliffe, to wishing I could visit the British Library’s new exhibition, Terror and Wonder : the Gothic Imagination. Ann Radcliffe always reminds me of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey & Valancourt Books are reprinting the seven Horrid Novels that Isabella Thorpe & Catherine Morland frighten themselves into fits over. I was reminded of the images of haunted houses, abbeys & assassins in this poem, even though it’s about the mind’s capacity to be haunted rather than literal haunted houses. I’ve always loved it.

One need not be a Chamber—to be Haunted—
One need not be a House—
The Brain has Corridors—surpassing
Material Place—

Far safer, of a Midnight Meeting
External Ghost
Than its interior Confronting—
That Cooler Host.

Far safer, through an Abbey gallop,
The Stones a’chase—
Than Unarmed, one’s a’self encounter—
In lonesome Place—

Ourself behind ourself, concealed—
Should startle most—
Assassin hid in our Apartment
Be Horror’s least.

The Body—borrows a Revolver—
He bolts the Door—
O’erlooking a superior spectre—
Or More—

4 thoughts on “Sunday Poetry – Emily Dickinson

  1. I passed by the British Museum and saw that poster advertising the exhibition a couple of weeks ago but didn't have time to stop. I've been to a couple of their exhibitions before and they are brilliant. I like the idea of re-publishing the horrid novels mentioned in Northanger Abbey! Must resume my project to read what Austen read.

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  2. I would love to have the chance to be passing by the BL! A friend at the weekend said that if I stopped buying books for a while I could save up for a trip – & of course she was right! The Valancourt editions of the horrid novels look very tempting too.

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