Poem 217 ± January 7, 2016

Emily Dickinson
Because I could not stop for Death (479)

Because I could not stop for Death—
He kindly stopped for me—
The Carriage held but just Ourselves—
And Immortality.

We slowly drove—He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility—

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess—in the Ring—
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain—
We passed the Setting Sun—

Or rather—He passed us—
The Dews drew quivering and chill—
For only Gossamer, my Gown—
My Tippet—only Tulle—

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground—
The Roof was scarcely visible—
The Cornice—in the Ground—

Since then—‘tis Centuries—and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity—

Emily DickinsonEmily Dickinson (1830–1886) was born in Amherst, Massachusetts. Fewer than a dozen of her poems were published during her lifetime. After her death, her sister Lavinia discovered a trove of nearly 1800 poems leading to the publication of her first collection in 1890. Until Thomas H. Johnson published Dickinson’s Complete Poems in 1955, her work was considerably edited and altered from its manuscript form. Along with Walt Whitman, Dickinson is now considered the bedrock of modern American poetry.