Emily Dickinson

Poetry on Gratitude

Emily Dickinson:

Six Gratitude Poems

Edited by Peter Y. Chou

POEM 493 (circa 1862)

The World— stands— solemner— to me—
Since I was wed— to Him—
A modesty befits the soul
That bears another's— name—
A doubt— if it be fair— indeed—
To wear that perfect— pearl—
The Man— upon the Woman— binds—
To clasp her soul— for all—
A prayer, that it more angel— prove—
A whiter Gift— within—
To that munificence, that chose—
So unadorned— a Queen—
A Gratitude— that such be true—
It had esteemed the Dream—
Too beautiful— for Shape to prove—
Or posture— to redeem!


POEM 655 (circa 1862)

Without this— there is nought—
All other Riches be
As is the Twitter of a Bird—
Heard opposite the Sea—

I could not care— to gain
A lesser than the Whole—
For did not this include themself—
As Seams— include the Ball?

I wished a way might be
My Heart to subdivide—
'Twould magnify— the Gratitude—
And not reduce— the Gold—


POEM 728 (circa 1863)

Let Us play Yesterday—
I— the Girl at school—
You— and Eternity— the—
Untold Tale—

'Twas my last gratitude
When I slept— at night—
'Twas the first Miracle
Let in— with Light—

God of the Manacle
As of the Free—
Take not my Liberty
Away from Me—

(stanzas 1, 6, 9)


POEM 760 (circa 1863)

Most she touched me by her muteness—
Most she won me by the way
She presented her small figure—
Plea itself— for Charity—

Were a Crumb my whole possession—
Were there famine in the land—
Were it my resource from starving—
Could I such a plea withstand—

Not upon her knee to thank me
Sank this Beggar from the Sky—
But the Crumb partook— departed—
And returned On High—

I supposed— when sudden
Such a Praise began
'Twas as Space sat singing
To herself— and men—

'Twas the Winged Beggar—
Afterward I learned
To her Benefactor
Making Gratitude


POEM 989 (circa 1865)

Gratitude— is not the mention
Of a Tenderness,
But it's still appreciation
Out of Plumb of Speech.

When the Sea return no Answer
By the Line and Lead
Prove it there's no Sea, or rather
A remoter Bed?


POEM 1617 (January 1884)

To try to speak, and miss the way
And ask it of the Tears,
Is Gratitude's sweet poverty
The Tatters that he wears—

A better Coat if he possessed
Would help him to conceal,
Not subjugate, the Mutineer
Whose title is "the Soul."

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
(Edited by Thomas H. Johnson),
Little Brown, Boston, 1955

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