03 May 2010

Tuesday poem: Emily Dickinson at home

If you look through the hedge
you can sometimes catch a glimpse
A woman in white at the window
It would be a cliché were it not true

The pane of glass cool against her palms
as she pauses, mid-sentence —
to watch what the world is doing
then a turn — a return

to her desk in her room
her almost whole world
Her room, an embrace
an encasement

her blanket, her box
her shelter at the top of the stairs
rafters and panels
a corset, a comfort

the boundaries of her circumference
But from here she can navigate
further than she has travelled
further than she can see

My Tuesday poem last week was by Emily Dickinson, and so this week's is my own poem about Emily Dickinson. This poem and 'Passion', my Emily Bronte poem, bookended the main, middle section of My Iron Spine - Emily B at the front and Emily D at the end. I really enjoy reading this poem out loud, because I like the rhythms. Maybe I should record a sound file...

I'm also the editor of the official Tuesday Poem blog this week, so go there to check out the official Tuesday Poem I've selected for your poetry-reading pleasure: 'come here at once' by Emma Barnes. And there you'll also find links to many other fabulous Tuesday poems.


Mary McCallum said...

Terrific poem - ah me - both those Emilys are very much on my mind right now for various reasons - and the confined nature of the world in front of them, but the breadth of the world they nurture inside.... you can walk around Emily Dickinson's writing room by going via Gondal Girl's blog http://gondal-girl.blogspot.com/2010/03/emily-dickinsons-desk.html

Helen Heath said...

I would love to hear you read this, as you say the rhythms - I love them. What about another video? :)

Mary McCallum said...

yes! another video - using the real footage ... helen's voice - terrific (reading the poem again, I love 'an embrace/an encasement' and later 'a corset, a comfort' -

Helen Rickerby said...

Thanks for your comments guys. I'm quite keen about the video idea - I think it could be fairly simple, slightly ghostly ... I will have a bit of a think about that, but I'm quite excited by the idea.

S.L. Corsua said...

I like that trance-like scene in the second stanza. Makes me think of Emily in autopilot mode. And with that "turn -- a return" line, I imagine theater marionettes; I like the wordplay there.

Thanks for posting. Cheers.

Helen Rickerby said...

Thanks so much!