Autodidact: self-taught



by V. L. Craven

Emily Dickinson

–I held a jewel in my fingers
And went to sleep.
The day was warm, and winds were prosy;
I said: ”Twill keep.’

I woke and chid my honest fingers,–
The gem was gone;
And now an amethyst remembrance
Is all I own.
—–Johnson #245


–I FELT a funeral in my brain,
And mourners, to and fro,
Kept treading, treading, till it seemed
That sense was breaking through.
And when they all were seated,
A service like a drum
Kept beating, beating, till I thought
My mind was going numb.

And then I heard them lift a box,
And creak across my soul
With those same boots of lead, again.
Then space began to toll
As all the heavens were a bell
And Being but an ear,
And I and silence some strange race,
Wrecked, solitary, here.
—–Johnson #280


–I died for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.
He questioned softly why I failed?
‘For beauty,’ I replied.
‘And I for truth,–the two are one;
We brethren are,’ he said.
And so, as kinsmen met a night,
We talked between the rooms,
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names.
—–Johnson #449


–The Soul selects her own Society–
Then—shuts the Door–…
I’ve known her—from an ample nation–
Choose One–
Then—close the Valves of her attention–
Like Stone
—–Johnson # 303


–‘Faith’ is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see–
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.
—–Johnson # 185


–The Service without Hope —
Is tenderest, I think —
Because ’tis unsustained…
—–Johnson #779


–A little bread, a crust—a crumb,
A little trust, a Demijohn–
Can keep the soul alive —
Not portly—mind!
But breathing—warm–
Conscious …
A brief campaign of sting and sweet,
Is plenty! Is enough!…
—–Johnson #159


–I have no Life but this — …
Nor tie to Earths to come,
Nor Action new
Except through this Extent
The love of you.
—–Johnson #1398


–That she forgot me was the least;
I felt it second pain.
That I was worthy to forget
Was most I thought upon.

Faithful was all that I could boast
But Constancy became
To her, by her innominate
A something like a shame
—–Johnson #1683

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