poems sent from dickinson to higginson

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1362

MANUSCRIPT:This poem concludes a letter (BPL Higg 97) written to T. W. Higginson about August 1876. It does not there have application to anything in the text of the letter. A penciled variant of the lines is in a discarded letter (Bingham l00-5) of the same date written, but never sent, to an unidentified correspondent. Though ED drew canceling strokes through it, she did not destroy it:

Thank you for the Delight. The Book is fair and lonely, like a Memoir of Evening.

Of his peculiar light
Wc keep one ray.
To clarify the sight
To seek him by.


Here the lines are adapted to a particular circumstance. Having scrapped the letter, she used the verve of the sheet for rough drafts of two poems: "A Field of Stubble lying sere," and "How much the present moment means."

PUBLICATION: Letters (ed. 1931 only), 298.

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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 September 15, 1998