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The poem was first "published" in the February 1929 issue of the Atlantic Monthly magazine. The poem is the first poem in a series of poems that the Atlantic Monthly printed in that issue. It stands on a page all its own under the heading "UNPUBLISHED POEMS BY EMILY DICKINSON" and the Roman numeral "I." By claiming that this and the other poems in the issue are "UNPUBLISHED," the editors play on the assumption that Dickinson has somehow chosen other poems to publish, which -- other than the few poems she sent to Higginson and others in her lifetime -- is simply not true. The heading also creates an aura around the poem that suggests it is more private than the other poems of Dickinson (which the 1929 audience has already seen in the various Todd and Bianchi editions that have come before). By seeing the poem as a private or hidden production, the audience might have a tendency to depoliticize the poem, to ignore its challenges to both the religious establishment and to literary establishment and to see it more as a reflection of a internal struggle within Dickinson over her own religious and poetic heritage.




I reckon, when I count at all,
First Poets - then the Sun -
Then Summer - then the
Heaven of God -
And then the list is done.
But looking back - the first so seems
To comprehend the whole -
The others look a needless show,
So I write Poets - All.
This summer lasts a solid year,
They can afford a sun
The East would deem
And if the final Heaven
Be beautiful as they disclose
To those who trust in them,
It is too difficult a grace
To justify the dream.

I reckon - when I count
At all -
First - Poets - Then the Sun -
Then Summer - Then the
Heaven of God -
And then - the List is done-

But - looking back - the
First so seems
To Comprehend the Whole -
The Others look a needless Show -
So I write - Poets - All -

Their Summer - lasts a Solid
Year -
They can afford a Sun
The East - would deem
Extravagant -
And if the Further Heaven -

Be Beautiful as they prepare
For Those who worship Them -
It is too difficult a Grace -
To justify the Dream -