Letter from Dickinson to Higginson

    Cambridge, early June 1864

    Dear friend,

    Are you in danger -

I did not know that you were hurt. Will you tell me more? Mr Hawthorne died.  I was ill
since September, and since April, in Boston, for a Physician's care - He does not
let me go, yet I work in my Prison, and make Guests for myself - Carlo did not come, because that he would die, in Jail, and the Mountains, I could not hold now, so i brought but the Gods - I wish to see you more than before I failed - Will you tell me your health?
I am surprised and anxious, since receiving your note -

         The only News I know
         Is Bulletins all day
         From Immortality.

Can you render my Pencil?

The Physician has taken away my Pen.

I enclose the address from a letter, lest my figures fail - Knowledge of your recovery -
would excel my own -

E- Dickinson

Poems of Emily Dickinson
(from Thomas Johnson's The Poems of Emily Dickinson)


They shut me up in Prose --
As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet --
Because they liked me "still" --

Still!  Could themself have peeped --
And seen my Brain -- go round --
They might as wise have lodged a Bird
For Treason -- in the Pound --

Himself has but to will
And easy as a Star
Abolish his Captivity --
And laugh -- No more have I --



A prison gets to be friend -
Between its Ponderous face
And Ours - A kinsmanship express -
And in its narrow Eyes -

We come to look with gratitude
For the appointed Beam
It deals us - stated as our food -
And hungered for - the same -

We learn to know the Planks -
That answer to Our feet -
So miserable a sound - at first -
Nor ever now - so sweet -

As plashing in the Pools -
When Mercury was a Boy -
But a Demurer Circuit -
A Geometric Joy -

The Posture of the Key
The interrupt the Day
To Our Endeavor - Not so real
The Cheek of Liberty -

As this Phantasm Steel -
Whose features - Day and Night -
Are present to us - as Our Own
And as escapeless - quite -

The narrow Round - the Stint -
The slow exchange of Hope -
For something passiver - Content
Too steep for looking up -

The Liberty we knew
Avoided - like a Dream -
Too wide for any Night but heaven -
If That - indeed - redeem - (324-325)


No Prisoner be -
Where Liberty -
Himself - abide with Thee - (353)


He fought like those Who've nought to lose -
Bestowed Himself to Balls
As One who for a further Life
Had not a further Use -

Invited Death - with bold attempt -
But Death was Coy of Him
As Other Men, were Coy of Death -
To Him - to live - was Doom -

His Comrades, shifted like the Flakes
When Gusts reverse the Snow -
But He - was left alive Because
Of Greediness to die - (372)


Dying!  To be afraid of thee
One must to thine Artillery
Have left exposed a Friend -
Than thine old Arrow is a Shot
Delivered straighter to the Heart
The leaving Love behind.

Not for itself, the dust is shy,
But, enemy, Beloved be
Thy Batteries divorce.
Fight sternly in a Dying eye
Two Armies, Love and Certainty
And Love and the Reverse. (403)


Lest they should come - is all my fear
When sweet incarcerated here... [MISSING TEXT?]