Friday, December 12, 2014

The Living Dead

Honouring our poetic ancestors

"Nature" is what we see
By Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

"Nature" is what we see—
The Hill—the Afternoon—
Squirrel—Eclipse— the Bumble bee—
Nay—Nature is Heaven—
Nature is what we hear—
The Bobolink—the Sea—
Thunder—the Cricket—
Nay—Nature is Harmony—
Nature is what we know—
Yet have no art to say—
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity. 

It's only six months since I featured the lovely Emily, but she's just had a birthday (10th December) so let's enjoy her again.

This time the link on her name takes you to that earlier post, in case you missed it or want to refresh your memory.

What is new this time is a different photo of Emily than the ones we usually see, showing her as a more mature woman. She is on the left, with her friend Kate Scott Turner. 

Information about the authentication of this photo is given here.

And the poem? Oh, I just liked what she had to say about nature!

This is the final "Living Dead" post for this year.  Next week we're back to "I Wish I'd Written This" and I hope to find a fun piece to usher in the holiday season.


  1. Yes! Thank you for Emily. In this poem, I love how she draws our attention to the specifics and then to the O-so-much-more!

  2. 'So impotent Our Wisdom is
    To her Simplicity. ' ~ how true is this...Thanks, Rosemary for all your informative posts adding more writers to read and adore. Happy Holidays to all!

    1. I get so much out of doing this, adding to my own stores of knowledge and pleasure!

  3. Thank you, Rosemary, for this delightful share. Nice to see her as an older woman too, in the photo. I hope you enjoy the Christmas holidays, my friend. Thank you for all you do all year to keep us entertained on Friday!

  4. Love Dickinson, a great poem. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Clement Clarke Moore's "Twas the Night Before Christmas" would be a great way to usher in the upcoming holiday. Just a suggestion here. I personally always find some poetic and creative drive when I read it for holiday themed poems. Here is a link to a copy of the poem if you would like to use it:

    1. Many thanks for the suggestion, Kenn, but I try if possible to use pieces that aren't too well-known. Weren't we all brought up on that one? *Smile*. (And then, I don't actually wish I'd written it!)

  6. I liked this poem, Rosemary, in its simplicity. But if you take in the message, it is indeed profound. I like the picture too. There do seem to be so few photos of Emily!

    1. I gather that some, which are purported to be of her, and probably are, cannot be authenticated and so are seldom used. Hence all the careful details amassed about this one.

  7. Nature is this, all this. Emily D had the gift of conveying so much so simply. Thank you, Rosemary for sharing this poem with us.

  8. She speaks as though attempting to briefly explain the inexplicable and then finishes by bestowing reverence on both.


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