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American poet (1830-1886)

Emily Dickinson quote

Anger as soon as fed is dead,
'Tis starving makes it fat.


Fame is a bee.
It has a song--
It has a sting--
Ah, too, it has a wing.

EMILY DICKINSON, Fame is a bee

Some keep the Sabbath going to church;
I keep it staying at home,
With a bobolink for a chorister,
And an orchard for a dome.

EMILY DICKINSON, Some keep the Sabbath going to Church

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant--
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —

EMILY DICKINSON, Tell all the Truth but tell it slant--

Surgeons must be very careful
When they take the knife!
Underneath their fine incisions
Stirs the culprit--life!

EMILY DICKINSON, Surgeons must be very careful

Shame need not crouch
In such an earth as ours
Stand—stand erect;
The universe is yours.

EMILY DICKINSON, Not with a Club, the Heart is broken

We outgrow love like other things
And put it in the drawer,
Till it an antique fashion shows
Like costumes grandsires wore.

EMILY DICKINSON, "We Outgrow Love Like Other Things"

Hope is the thing with feathers —
That perches in the soul —
And sings the tune without the words —
And never stops — at all —
And sweetest — in the Gale — is heard —
And sore must be the storm —
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm —

EMILY DICKINSON, "Hope is the thing with feathers"

Such is the force of Happiness--
The Least can lift a ton
Assisted by its stimulus.

EMILY DICKINSON, "Such is the force of happiness"

Best Grief is Tongueless--before He'll tell--
Burn Him in the Public Square.

EMILY DICKINSON, "Grief Is a Mouse"

They say that God is everywhere, and yet we always think of Him as somewhat of a recluse.

EMILY DICKINSON, letter to Mrs. J. G. Holland, spring 1878

Death is a Dialogue between
The Spirit and the Dust.

EMILY DICKINSON, "Death is a Dialogue"

To live is so startling, it leaves but little room for other occupations.

EMILY DICKINSON, letter to T. W. Higginson, winter 1871

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.


If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry.

EMILY DICKINSON, letter to T. W. Higginson, c. 1870

My friends are my "estate." Forgive me then the avarice to hoard them.

EMILY DICKINSON, letter to Samuel Bowles, Aug. 1858 or '59

Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.
'Tis the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane;
Demur — you're straightway dangerous,
And handled with a chain.

EMILY DICKINSON, "Much Madness is divinest Sense"

That it will never come again
Is what makes life so sweet

EMILY DICKINSON, "That it will never come again"

Portraits are to daily faces
As an evening west
To a fine, pedantic sunshine
In a satin vest.

EMILY DICKINSON, "Portraits are to daily faces"

How do most people live without any thoughts? There are many people in the world — you must have noticed them in the street — how do they live? How do they get strength to put on their clothes in the morning?

EMILY DICKINSON, letter to T. W. Higginson, 1870

Who has not found the Heaven — below —
Will fail of it above —

EMILY DICKINSON, "Who has not found the Heaven below"

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

EMILY DICKINSON, "There is no frigate like a book"

Enough is so vast a sweetness, I suppose it never occurs, only pathetic counterfeits.

EMILY DICKINSON, letter to T. W. Higginson, Aug. 1870

Saying nothing ... sometimes says the most.

EMILY DICKINSON, letter to Mrs. Joseph A. Sweetser, Jan. 1874

"Faith" is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see —
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.

EMILY DICKINSON, "Faith is a fine invention"

The dying need but little, dear,
A glass of water's all,
A flower's unobtrusive face
To punctuate the wall,
A fan, perhaps, a friend's regret
And certainty that one
No color in the rainbow
Perceive, when you are gone.

EMILY DICKINSON, "The Dying need but little, Dear"

Nature is a haunted house — but Art — a House that tries to be haunted.

EMILY DICKINSON, letter to T. W. Higginson, 1876

Fame is a fickle food
Upon a shifting plate,
Whose table once a Guest, but not
The second time, is set.
Whose crumbs the crows inspect,
And with ironic caw
Flap past it to the Farmer’s corn;
Men eat of it and die.

EMILY DICKINSON, "Fame is a fickle food"

Love — is anterior to Life —
Posterior — to Death —
Initial of Creation, and
The Exponent of Earth.

EMILY DICKINSON, "Love is anterior to Life"

In such a porcelain life one likes to be sure that all is well lest one stumble upon one's hopes in a pile of broken crockery.

EMILY DICKINSON, letter to Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Bowles, Aug. 1858?

The butterfly obtains
But little sympathy,
Though favorably mentioned
In Entomology.
Because he travels freely
And wears a proper coat,
The circumspect are certain
That he is dissolute.
Had he the homely scutcheon of modest industry,
'Twere fitter certifying for immortality.

EMILY DICKINSON, "The butterfly obtains but little sympathy"

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.
I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.

EMILY DICKINSON, "I never saw a Moor"

Death's Waylaying not the sharpest
Of the thefts of Time —
There Marauds a sorer Robber,
Silence — is his name —
No Assault, nor any Menace
Doth betoken him.
But from Life's consummate Cluster —
He supplants the Balm.

EMILY DICKINSON, "Death's Waylaying not the sharpest"

Browse Emily Dickinson Quotes II

Browse Emily Dickinson Quotes III

Emily Dickinson Poems - a collection of her poetry.

Emily Dickinson Poetry - more poems by Dickinson.

Emily Dickinson Bibliography - a bibliography, including list of critical resources.


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