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16 December 2012

Me—Come! My dazzled face

Me—Come! My dazzled face
In such a shining place!
Me—Hear! My foreign ear
The sounds of Welcome—there!

The saints forget
Our bashful feet—
My holiday shall be
That They—remember me—

My Paradise—the fame
That They—pronounce my name—

                                                                        F389 (1862)  431

The poet here poses (perhaps sincerely) as too shy to answer the call of heaven. "Aw shucks. It's too grand up there for the likes of me." The saints' "Welcome"  will fall on her "foreign ear." She doesn't belong in such a "shining place." She thinks that after a stint in heaven, the saints forget that newcomers will have "bashful feet." 

There's an Emily Dickinson International Society--
with members from all over the world.
          But the modesty is soon revealed as a form of ambition. The poet's idea of immortality and paradise is to be remembered for her poetry. She wants to be famous. That will be her holiday (holy day).  Ambitious as this sounds, Dickinson really was a bit shy about her poetry. She submitted only a few for consideration by known literary figures or for publication. The rest were written in either in secrecy or else included as a letter or part of a letter to friends and family.
          Dickinson's idea of Paradise has been realized. Over 125 years after her death (1886), her name is very much pronounced—and all over the world.


  1. She reminds me of the force and magnetic pull dead gurus in India still have on their followers, who flock to their ashrams, her poems, and bask in the light their immortal energies still radiate.

    1. It's true. Such a mystery about that light; we, like moths.