1862 | Amherst, MA

Awe Inspired

Emily Dickinson on the pleasures of not creating.

I would not paint - a picture -
I’d rather be the One
It’s bright impossibility
To dwell - delicious - on -
And wonder how the fingers feel
Whose rare - celestial - stir -
Evokes so sweet a torment - 
Such sumptuous - Despair -

I would not talk, like Cornets -
I’d rather be the One
Raised softly to the Ceilings -
And out, and easy on -
Through Villages of Ether -
Myself endued Balloon
By but a lip of Metal -
The pier to my Pontoon -

Nor would I be a Poet -
It’s finer - Own the Ear -
Enamored - impotent - content -
The License to revere,
A privilege so awful
What would the Dower be,
Had I the Art to stun myself
With Bolts - of Melody!


Emily Dickinson

A poem. After Dickin­son died in her Massachusetts home in 1886, her sister discovered forty hand-bound volumes, known as fascicles, of more than eight hundred poems in a cherrywood cabinet. Although the poet had requested that her letters and papers be burned, her sister felt she would not have wanted her poems destroyed. A complete volume of Dickinson’s poetry did not appear until 1955.