poems from dickinson to emily fowler ford

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 320

MANUSCRIPT: The copy reproduced above (Jones Library) was one of four poems which ED enclosed in her first letter to T. W. Higginson, postmarked, 15 April 1862. A second fair copy in pencil (Bingham 98-3-33), headed "Emily," and signed "Emiliy.", is identical in text:

We play at Paste -
Till qualified for Pearl -
Then, drop the Paste -
And deem Ourself a fool -
The Shapes, tho', were similar,
And our new Hands
Learned Gem Tactics
Practicing Sands -

It is in the handwriting of 1864, and may have been sent to Emily Fowler Ford.

PUBLICATION: The poem was first published in Atlantic Monthly, LXVIII (October 1891), 445, in an article which Higginson wrote dealing with the letters and poems he had received from ED. The same text was followed when the poem was first collected later in the year in Poems (1891), 25, where it is printed without stanza division. The italics are not retained.

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lv26@umail.umd.edu>
Last updated on January 11, 1999