I’m nobody!  Who are you?


Poetry Monday – Three poems by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts. When Emily was a little girl, everyone in Amherst knew the Dickinsons. Her grandfather helped found Amherst College. Her father was a lawyer and he was the treasurer of the college. Emily’s mother, also called Emily, was a great cook and loved to entertain. Emily had an older brother, Austin and a younger sister, Lavinia.

Emily was very shy, and did not enjoy social gatherings. After one year of college, she returned home and lived there until her death. She loved reading, gardening, going for walks, playing piano, her family and nature.

She started writing poetry when she was in her teens. Although only six of her poems were published while she was alive, after her death they discovered many little books of poetry, each sewn together by hand. In all, Emily Dickinson had written more than 1,700 poems!

One of her most famous poems is entitled I’m nobody! Who are you?  It addresses the universal feeling of being an outsider.

I’m nobody! Who are you?



I’m nobody! Who are you?

Are you nobody, too?

Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!

They’d banish us, you know.

 

How dreary to be somebody!

How public, like a frog

To tell your name the livelong day

To an admiring bog!

Emily loved reading. She was rarely seen without a book in her hands. In this poem, she talks about the joys of reading:

 There is no Frigate Like 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!

Emily also enjoyed the beauty of nature. She loved to write about birds, flowers, trees, the sea, and all the things she saw in her garden and on her daily walks. Here is an amusing poem about insects:


Bee, I’m Expecting you

Bee! I’m expecting you!

Was saying Yesterday

To Somebody you know

That you were due—

 

The Frogs got Home last Week—

Are settled, and at work—

Birds, mostly back—

The Clover warm and thick—

 

You’ll get my Letter by

The seventeenth; Reply

Or better, be with me—

Yours, Fly.

 

If you’ve enjoyed these poems by Emily Dickinson, I’d encourage you to get a copy of Poetry for Young People – Emily Dickinson edited by Frances Schoonmaer Bolin. Poetry for Young People is a great series for kids that highlights different poets, with information about their life and work and with selections of their poetry interspersed with colorful illustrations.

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