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“Because I Could Not Stop for Death”

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), One of America’s Greatest Poets

It has been a while since I’ve presented a poem by Emily Dickinson. Along with Robert Frost and Walt Whitman, she is one of the greatest poets our country has ever produced. This one is called “Because I Could Not Stop for Death.”

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed us –
The Dews drew quivering and chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – ‘tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity –

A tippet is a narrow piece of cloth worn over the shoulders, and tulle is a kind of netting, which could be made from any of several fibers.

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