December 05, 2009

The carriage held but just ourselves

OK, I admit it. I have a thing for Emily Dickinson. In her lifetime, she was like a volcanic eruption that nobody saw. And, at the risk of being a downer, I think some of her best poems were about mortality.

If life is what happens when we're making other plans, that is probably even more true about death. Here's one of my favorites:

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labour, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

1 comment:

Antipode said...

Thanks for sharing. I had to look up cornice.