“Are you nobody too?” – Emily Dickinson

Prompted by the question, “If someone said they liked to read “vaguely romantic” poetry, whose work might that be?” posted in a writing forum I frequent, I started going through my head for poets I love/have loved and poems that have moved me.

The first names that popped to my mind were Sarah Teasdale, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Al Purdy–and one line, “A girl freezes in a telephone booth” (which comes from beautiful, if ripping, untitled poem by Andrei Voynesensky).

Then I turned to a hardcover journal that I got when I was sixteen or so. It holds favourite poems and quotes from my teen years, transposed from the various scraps of paper and spiral notebooks that the words had previously called home, along with passages and snippets that have resonated with me in later years. I’m slightly in awe of how much poetry I used to read–and by the poets I gravitated to, long before I knew they were “somebodies” in the literary world.

While I’m a fiction addict, there’s something about poetry that calls to me and speaks to me in a way that no other written form does. I wonder if it’s because poems are created with the words we find within ourselves when all other words fail us?

I don’t consider it a great work of art or anything, but I had fun with the following poem late last fall and feel satisfied that I captured, at least in part, the mood of that evening. It’s also nice now, in the heart of winter, to remember there are always aspects of deep weather that I enjoy.

Winter’s Eve

All is crinkly-crisp this night
Golden leaves are icy folds—wrinkled, whiskered
Street lamps glow and show
Grassy-green, silver-sheened
Underfoot, crushed mint
Overhead, elf-wine scent
Mountain ash berries ferment

Clear sky
Cold sky
Black with star eyes

Woodsmoke sighs
It won’t snow yet

                                    – Ev Bishop, copyright 2009

 I hope you’re digging into the words within you this week. And if you can’t find a story, seek out a poem.

3 thoughts on ““Are you nobody too?” – Emily Dickinson

  1. Beautiful! I was about to ask which of those famous poets had written it, until I paid closer attention! You did capture winter.
    Maybe all the sleep is paying off dividends?
    Don’t forget to send it to the SiWC contest this summer; it’s really worth sharing.
    Susan

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  2. Aw, thanks, Susan. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. And LOL re: “the famous poet who had written it.” 😀 I will consider submitting it to the SiWC contest . . . .

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  3. Wonderful Ev, especially the last lines. 🙂 I love it.

    I’m brainwashed: vaguely romantic makes me think something like Byron or Keats or Shelley. I’ve just learned something about Keats: he wanted an unnamed tombstone with the words “Here lies one whose name was writ in water” written on it. Instead, his friends gave him a tombstone that said:

    This Grave / contains all that was Mortal / of a / Young English Poet / Who / on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his Heart / at the Malicious Power of his Enemies / Desired / these Words to be / engraven on his Tomb Stone: / Here lies One / Whose Name was writ in Water.

    That kind of breaks my heart. Here’s a photo:

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