Common-Place Jotting: Dickinson’s Song

Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember

Emily Dickinson commemorative stamp, 1971

Many great poets wrote their most magnificent poetry in their youth rather than at the peak of their maturity. Take, for example, Dante, Lord Byron, John Keats, and T. S. Eliot. Others wrote throughout their life with equal prowess: Milton wrote Lycidas when a student, and Paradise Lost as an old man.

But many come to poetry as late bloomers. Emily Dickinson considered herself such, watching others pass her by. Only ten of her nearly 1,800 poems were published in her lifetime. She kept “singing” anyway, saying with confidence, “I shall bring a fuller tune.” What do you think she means?

I Shall Keep Singing!                           by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

I shall keep singing!
Birds will pass me

On their way to Yellower Climes
Each – with a Robin’s expectation –
I – with my Redbreast –
And my Rhymes –

Late – when I take my place in summer –
But – I shall bring a fuller tune –
Vespers – are sweeter than Matins – Signor –
Morning – only the seed of Noon –                                                            

Author: Dora

The unearned splendor of being means we can always meet on a common plane of gratitude, aiming in conversation, art, or writing towards “something understood.”

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