by Sharon Olds

Thank you very much. Partly in deference to the age in which Emily lived, and partly in deference to the climate of the room, I'm beginning my reading in gloves. Now I'm here, no I arrive--there. I think she's such an astonishing poet, such an astonishing being, that she wrote at all and that she wrote so brilliantly. That there was at that time and place a great poet is always powerfully moving to me. I especially love her rhythm. We'll all be saying what we love best, and what we feel most connected to. And since one of the things in poetry that's the strongest for me is rhythm, that was one of the things I first responded to in Emily Dickinson.

I envy Seas, whereon He rides -
I envy Spokes of Wheels
Of Chariots, that Him convey -
I envy Crooked Hills

That gaze upon His journey -
How easy All can see
What is forbidden utterly
As Heaven - unto me!

I envy Nests of Sparrows -
That dot His distant Eaves -
The wealthy fly, upon His Pane -
The happy - happy Leaves -

That just abroad His Window
Have Summer's leave to play -
The Ear Rings of Pizarro
Could not obtain for me -

I envy Light - that Wakes Him -
And Bells - that boldly ring
To tell Him it is Noon, abroad -
Myself - be noon to Him -

Yet interdict - my Blossom -
And abrogate - my Bee -
Lest Noon in Everlasting Night -
Drop Gabriel - and Me -

(JP 498)

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