Sunday, September 13, 2009

Aimless Reading: The D's, Part 27.2 (Emily Dickinson)

The Complete Poems
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Dickinson, Emily
The Complete Poems

I guess you could call this my "reading" copy of Emily Dickinson's poems. I think I bought it at Rust Belt Books. While it's nice having the varorium edition, I don't often reach for it when I want to read one or two of the poems. There's just too much information on each page to make the reading enjoyable. (Unless, of course, one is working on a Dickinson essay or some such).

Even so, the Complete Poems is still a bit unwieldy. I once owned a Selected Poems, but found that too many of the poems I like were missing. Emily Dickinson is tough that way. She has so many poems, a good portion of which are great, but then there are a lot of poems that I could live without.

Maybe someday in the future, when it's all in the public domain, each reader will be able to make his or her own selection of the poems, then have them printed in an edition of one. I suppose this could be done now using POD. And who'd be the wiser?


My Portion is Defeat — today —
A paler luck than Victory —
Less Paeans — fewer Bells —
The Drums don't follow Me — with tunes —
Defeat — a somewhat slower — means —
More Arduous than Balls —

'Tis populous with Bone and stain —
And Men too straight to stoop again —,
And Piles of solid Moan —
And Chips of Blank — in Boyish Eyes —
And scraps of Prayer —
And Death's surprise,
Stamped visible — in Stone —

There's somewhat prouder, over there —
The Trumpets tell it to the Air —
How different Victory
To Him who has it — and the One
Who to have had it, would have been
Contender — to die —

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