I've always felt uncomfortable -- even embarrassed -- at not having read any Emily Dickinson. After all, I went to school in her native Amherst, and toured the Dickinson Homestead as a student. But reading her poetry is something I'd not done: until now.
Over the past few months, I've tried to read a few of her poems each day. Today, I finished the Wordsworth collection, which includes selected poems focused on nature, mortality, love, and life.
As I said to Frank earlier this winter, I could not tell you whether Dickinson was a happy person or sad, whether she was content with her station or whether she yearned for more. I did, though, find her poems lively and perceptive: an interesting mix of prescience and animation. But whether the poems told me anything about Dickinson herself, I really cannot say: not, of course, that this is the obligation of the poet. I mention it only because I tend, I think, to learn more about writers through novels than through poetry.
All of that said, there are some beautiful poems in this collection, full of memorable observations. I found myself refreshed after reading Dickinson's poems: as if her clarity and patience had helped to generate similar qualities in myself. For that alone, I am thankful.
I'm not a critic of poetry and so am happy to leave the last word to Dickson:
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him