I Bowed to Worship Another…


I relished a trip to Amherst, Massachusetts, a few years ago with my family. A long-time writing heroine of mine, Emily Dickinson and I had an appointment. I could hardly wait to visit her childhoold home.


I consider Dickinson America’s best poet, exceeding the writings of  Frost, Whitman, Sandburg, and Emerson… even contemporary poets like Billy Collins, Ted Kooser, and Mark Strand… all of whom I adore. It just seems that no one comes close to the sharp insight and brilliance of Emily.


 Here’s the poem I wrote on that crisp autumn day in Amhert after visiting the home and grave of Emily Dickinson.

To Emily Dickinson

I saw the family

homestead, Emily, and 

gazed at the old white oak.

Hallowed stones carried me

through your garden

where an impassive

gardner purged the ground

of intruding weeds.

Your flowers’ fragrances mingled and

wafted on chilly autumn breeze,

enticing me to another generation.

I breathed deeply

the university air of Amherst.

Reverently, I touched your 

cold gravestone and

caressed your name engraved.

Nothing passed between us, Emily.

Your sweet, stinging words,

your life, your war with God

moved through my heart.

No spark of inspiration

illumined my lingering soul…

Turning to search,

I sensed the ever so slight

sweep of a scented garment–

a pierced hand–

and bowed to worship


6 Comments Add yours

  1. lamar howell says:

    Emily Dickinson brought people face-to-face with mortality, and served up a strange mix of welcome dread.

  2. He passat com un ratolí, entrant per la porta i sortint per aquí 🙂

  3. scott dickinson says:

    Ah yes, cousin Em, strange but like Lamar said, brewed up welcome dread!


  4. Menudita como un picaflor, pero ¡tan grande! La poesía encarnada en una cápsula atómica apunto de estallar. La adivino correr por entre sus versos mientras cantan pacíficamente los petirrojos en una tarde de verano. De pronto se pone a nevar. ¡Honda como un abismo que nos mira!

  5. Norman says:

    Dearest Emily,

    I sauntered with a stable worship,
    Of your pains of earth become,
    The words painted precisely
    My imagining of you silk spun

    Each word did spill its tender sounds
    From your reclusive world undone
    As a poetess would envision
    An earth, since mine begun.

    I, for the first of time
    Did see your image sweet
    Such beauty the grace of thine
    As if a tender love to greet.

    I fathom not the tears I felt
    When finally we did meet
    Our dearest poetic Emily
    I trust the journey is complete.
    Norman Anthony 2010

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