A Poem by Emily Dickinson for Her Birthday

Oh no, I did not realize poet Emily Dickinson’s birthday was on December 10, Happy Belated Birthday, Emily! 192 years. And she was born nearby in Amherst, Massachusetts.

a poem by Emily Dickinson

Birthday of but a single pang
That there are less to come —
Afflictive is the Adjective
But affluent the doom —


I had not really looked into her poetry because the capitalizations would distract me from the clever meanings and flow of them, but I also felt I would try again because her reserved sarcasm and wit always drew me to want to read them.

There is literary debate on whether her poetry published after her death in books today may have actually been unfinished by her, and that these capitals in the middle of lines were meant as notes to herself and maybe not completed poems yet—but many scholars today find that she meant them like this, and that being ahead of her time meant her poems were very seldom published in her own lifetime.

I am inspired to browse through her poems in my own copy of Collected Poems, a very ample collection of poetry—the above poem as one fitted to this occasion.


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