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A Frugal Chariot

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

Here is one of Emily Dickinson’s simpler poems—but no less powerful for all that. It is called “A Book”:

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

At a time when poetry is being pushed aside by the young in favor of video games and other more spurious entertainments, it is good to see a simple statement of why it should not be so.

There are few things one can read that can so work the mind and enliven the spirit as a powerful poem, such as those of Emily Dickinson. Usually, they are complex arrangements of relatively few words. Fortunately, there is a reward for making the effort, a reward in the form of greater understanding.


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