Saturday, February 5, 2011

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson – Dawn and Doors

[Photo Source: My photo, my camera, my backyard capturing a fleeting beautiful Dawn.]


POEM about 'Dawn and Doors'

(Below is a short poem written by my maternal Cousin Emily Elizabeth Dickinson that I first read 5 Feb 2011.  I have a fondness for poetry and prose that use "doors" and "sunrise" for thoughts and feelings.  A door used with sunrise, to me, means 'beginnings'.  Enjoy this short poem, again or for the first time, and let's see what it means to YOU !!)

Not knowing when the Dawn will come,

I open every Door,

Or has it Feathers, like a Bird,

Or Billows, like a Shore –

[Emily Elizabeth Dickinson, Poem # 1619]


Emily Elizabeth Dickinson -- (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) "The Belle of Amherst", was an American poet.  Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life.  After she studied at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she spent a short time at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her family's house in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Although Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime.  The work that was published during her lifetime was usually altered significantly by the publishers to fit the conventional poetic rules of the time.  Dickinson's poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation.  Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends.

Although most of her acquaintances were probably aware of Dickinson's writing, it was not until after her death in 1886—when" Vinnie" Lavinia Dickinson Norcross  (1833-1899), Emily's younger sister, discovered her cache of poems—that the breadth of Dickinson's work became apparent.  Her first collection of poetry was published in 1890 by personal acquaintances Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd, both of whom heavily edited the content.  A complete and mostly unaltered collection of her poetry became available for the first time in 1955 when The Poems of Emily Dickinson was published by scholar Thomas H. Johnson.  Despite unfavorable reviews and skepticism of her literary prowess during the late 19th and early 20th century, critics now consider Dickinson to be a major American poet. 

SOURCE:    [  ]


Tribute to Cousin Emily – A Kindred Spirit

I am honored to share with Emily Dickinson the same many-Great-Grandparents (Moses Payne [1581 England-1643 Massachusetts, USA] and his wife Mary Benison Payne [1585 England-1616 England]); they were my Maternal 9th Great Grandparents and they were Emily's Maternal 6th Great Grandparents.  I feel as a kindred spirit with Emily for we both endured the day-to-day tasks of keeping house while caring for dear ones and making time to pursue songs of our heart.  Emily was an artist and used her genius to write beautiful poems as she used words to weave her thoughts and feelings of nature and life.   

Emily enjoyed the early hours of the day, and wrote many descriptive passages that included imagery of nature, sunrise, birds, and the hopes of what would be revealed in the new dawn.

WHAT THIS POEM sings to my heart

The newest addition to my bookshelf is a book of Emily Dickinson's writings.  It is a wonderful way to spend a few moments in the early hours opening to a random page and letting her poetry flow over my heart as she shares her thoughts on her daily life with poetic observations of time, nature, death, love, hope, society, and dawn.

In this particular poem, I can feel the myriad possibilities and opportunities that are available anew with each sunrise, as a 'new door is opened with the dawn of a new day'.


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