NEW ENGLAND LIFE
by Mary Oliver
For my part in this celebration I wanted to begin by reading four poems of Emily Dickinson. I think I got the good spot. I'm going to read one, at least, of the very well known poems and three not so well known. There are, in this book, something over seventeen hundred poems and I've had fun in the last week doing my homework, as it were, and found some delicious things that I wasn't that familiar with. This is a fairly early poem, 1861, and I thought it was kind of nice to read for two reasons. It describes New England, which was Emily Dickinson's home, of course, and is also mine, and there's something at the end of it that I liked so much, sad, but very human touch. She is, after all, a mystery as well as a miracle, and it's kind of nice to get this sense of her as a person, which she herself gave us, rather than what we are exploring about her.
This is a later poem, 1883, quite a late poem.
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