This Emily Dickinson poem is for our friends in the Northeast tonight– we hope they are warm!


It sifts from leaden sieves —

It powders all the Wood.

It fills with Alabaster Wool

The Wrinkles of the Road —

It makes an Even Face

Of Mountain, and of Plain —

Unbroken Forehead from the East

Unto the East again —

It reaches to the Fence —

It wraps it Rail by Rail

Till it is lost in Fleeces —

It deals Celestial Vail

To Stump, and Stack — and Stem —

A Summer’s empty Room —

Acres of Joints where Harvests were,

Recordless, but for them —

It ruffles Wrists of Posts

As Ankles of a Queen —

Then stills its Artisans — like Ghosts —

Denying they have been —

c. 1862 #311


[all poems of Dickinson that I post here are from Thomas Johnson’s monumental THE COMPLETE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON, 1952, Little, Brown, which restored her original (be it unusual) spelling, capitalization and punctuation]

NOTE: WordPress makes it almost impossible to replicate stanza breaks in poetry. This poem was written in quatrains ( four line stanzas) but I can’t get WP to allow me to represent it correctly.

About Margaret Jean Langstaff

A lifelong critical reader with literary tastes, a novelist, short story writer, essayist, book critic, and professional book editor for many years. A consultant to publishers and authors, providing manuscript critiques and a full range of editorial services. A friend and supporter of all other readers and writers. A collector of signed modern first editions. Animal lover and tree hugger. Follow me on Twitter @LangstaffEditor
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11 Responses to This Emily Dickinson poem is for our friends in the Northeast tonight– we hope they are warm!

  1. Great poem. Most of my family is still up in New England and are expecting 20-30 inches. Regarding stanza breaks–try using soft returns for lines in a stanza (shift-enter or shift-return) and hard returns for the space between stanzas.


  2. Aquileana says:

    Perfect poem for those cold days over there… But snow will soon thaw (eventually it does!)… Have a great weekend Margaret … Best wishes! Aquileana 😀


  3. One of the lovely features of WP – formatting is limited. However, there is a way around that. I rarely use my computer. 99.9% of what I write is done on my phone. The phone app, unlike the computer, allows you to compose in stanzas. Love Dickinson! Took a course devoted to her and her poetry in College.


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