poems from dickinson to joseph k. chickering

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1580

MANUSCRIPT: Late 1882 or early 1883 (Bingham). The lines are incorporated in a letter to Professor J. K. Chickering.

Chickering had been very helpful at the time of her mother's death in November 1882, and shortly thereafter he asked if he might call on her. She asked for a postponement, planning to see him later, after his return from a trip, but when the time came she found herself, as the poem is intended to acknowledge, panicked with "dismay." Her difficulty about seeing people, which had steadily increased during the seventies, was now becoming absolute. For a poem similarly inspired in the seventies, see "I shall not murmur if at last."

PUBLICATION: Letters (ed. 1894), 414-415; (ed. 1931), 404; also LL (1924), 342.

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lvetter@uncc.edu>
Last updated on February 25, 2008