Happy Birthday, Emily

A Book...
Photo by Delphine Devos, used from Flickr with Creative Commons license


Photo displayed on Flickr with the following Emily Dickinson poem:

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!

Today is Emily Dickinson’s birthday. Although I love Emily’s work and am fascinated by her life and cook her recipes–see the Black Cake recipe here and more discussion of it here, at This Culinary Life, it may be a stretch to talk about Emily at a travel website. She not only did not travel, she was downright hostile to the idea. Here are Emily Dickinson travel thoughts.

This from The Life of Emily Dickinson by Richard B. Sewall:

In 1851, when she went to Boston with sister Vinnie, they came back (she wrote Austin[her brother]) “rich in disdain fro Bostonians and Boston, and a coffer fuller of scorn, pity, commisseration, a miser hardly had.”…In Washington in 1855, she found that “all is jostle, here–scramble and confusion.”

On another occasion she said, “I don’t care for roving” and “I do not go away, but the Grounds are ample–almost travel–.”

In a letter to a friend who had returned from a world tour, Emily says:

We are by September and yet my flowers are bold as June.  Amherst has gone to Eden.

To shut our eyes is Travel.

The Seasons understand this.

How lonesome to be an Article! I mean–to have no soul.

An apple fell in the night and a Wagon stopped.

I suppose the Wagon ate the Apple and resumed it’s way.

How fine it is to talk.

What Miracles the News is!

Not Bismark but ourselves.

The news of the world is not the true miracle, she is saying.  Our own lives are the true miracles worthy of news. And why go abroad when we live in Eden? The wagon (moving about) simply eats the apple and moves on without soul.


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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.