February 20, 2018
Emily Dickinson, "Alabaster Chambers"On this day in 1862, Emily Dickinson's poem "Safe in their Alabaster Chambers" was published in the Springfield Daily Republican. This was the second of only a handful of poems published in Dickinson's lifetime, all of them anonymously and, most think, without her knowledge:
Untouched by morning and untouched by noon,
Sleep the meek members of the resurrection,
Rafter of satin, and roof of stone.
Light laughs the breeze in her castle of sunshine;
Babbles the bee in a stolid ear;
Pipe the sweet birds in ignorant cadence, --
Ah, what sagacity perished here!
Grand go the years in the crescent above them;
Worlds scoop their arcs, and firmaments row,
Diadems drop and Doges surrender,
Soundless as dots on a disk of snow.
If fame belonged to me, I could not escape her -- if she did not, the longest day would pass me on the chase -- and the approbation of my Dog, would forsake me -- then. My Barefoot-Rank is better.
You think my gait "spasmodic," I am in danger, Sir.
You think me "uncontrolled," I have no Tribunal. . . .
The Sailor cannot see the North, but knows the Needle can.
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