1861 | Amherst, MA

High on Life

Emily Dickinson drinks deep from nature.

I taste a liquor never brewed—
From Tankards scooped in Pearl—
Not all the Frankfort Berries
Yield such an Alcohol!

Inebriate of air—am I—
And Debauchee of Dew—
Reeling—through endless summer days—
From inns of molten Blue—

When “Landlords” turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove’s door—
When Butterflies—renounce their “drams”—
I shall but drink the more!

Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats—
And Saints—to windows run—
To see the little Tippler
Leaning against the—Sun!


Emily Dickinson

Poem 207. After trips in her early twenties in the 1850s to Washington, DC to visit her congressman father and to Boston for treatment for an eye disorder, Dickinson wrote to a friend from her Amherst house, where she spent the remainder of her life, “I do not cross my father’s ground to any house or town.” She composed her poems in her bedroom, writing over 1,700, only a handful of which were published in her lifetime. She died of a stroke at the age of fifty-five in 1886.