Milestones: Emily Dickinson

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry.”

Emily Dickinson

On August 10, 1847, Emily Dickinson graduated from Amherst Academy, where she studied English and classical literature, Latin, botany, geology, history, “mental philosophy,” and arithmetic.

The study of “mental philosophy” according to the research I completed today is the branch of philosophy that studies the idea of existence, being, becoming and reality. The nature of the mind and the relationship and connection with the body flows from these thoughts.

Digitally restored black and white daguerrotype of Emily Dickinson, c. early 1847 Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A Light Exists in Spring by Emily Dickinson

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

18 thoughts on “Milestones: Emily Dickinson

  1. Thank you for sharing these lovely poetic words, and so well recited. I listened more than once to the musical words as you recited them. I remember this poet and this very verse in my early grade school years in a country school house in the rural Nebraska grasslands! The background of beautiful trees and scenery makes this podcast so very enjoyable–actually a very beautiful historical treasure! !

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    1. I am enjoying exploring the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Just think – we have experienced this poem over the decades together – you in your country school house in rural Nebraska, and now again in Vancouver. Amazing!!! I found a new poem that I want to recite this month. It is about July but I think August is a fine time to celebrate July.

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    1. Many thanks, Dave for your heartwarming comments. I love looking back at milestones that influence our current reality, but are mostly forgotten. Just a few days from now on August 24, 1847 Charlotte Bronte will finish the manuscript of Jane Eyre. Both women reach out from the past and remind us that we must live with boldness, hope and compassion. I would have loved to be in the “mental philosophy” class with Emily.

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  2. Oh, one of my favorites. And such a beautiful location to recite it. Emily’s theme was no doubt influenced by another young poet unrecognized in his lifetime, John Keats.

    That Science cannot overtake
    But Human Nature feels.

    As Trade had suddenly encroached
    Upon a Sacrament.

    Excerpt from Keats’ Lamia II

    Do not all charms fly
    At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
    There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
    We know her woof, her texture; she is given
    In the dull catalogue of common things.
    Philosophy will clip an Angel’s wings,
    Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
    Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine—
    Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
    The tender-person’d Lamia melt into a shade.

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    1. Mary Jo – a brilliant poem that I had never heard of before. You had me scurrying to find out more information. I marvel at Keats’ ability to bring passion and emotional vibrancy to words. In my readings, I understand that this poem had a deep influence on Edgar Allen Poe’s sonnet, “To Science.” It seems there is a connection that flows from one poet to another as if they grasp the energy from the words and find other words to keep the flame alight. Which brings me to the thought that poetry is in all of us, if we stop and pause. The world is full of “light” and ignites possibilities.

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  3. Your video was a real treat to wake up to. What a breathtaking spring garden! I greatly enjoyed your recitation of “A Light Exists in Spring.” Metaphorical interpretation aside, I know just the light she means. I chase after it in the spring with a camera, hoping to capture it for myself.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean Liz! There is a certain light in spring that comes through the branches where the leaves are just beginning to open. There is still the influence of winter on the ground. You captured that winter/spring in your video/poem: “In the Days Before Spring”

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  4. Well, rather nice to revisit spring in the middle of a heatwave. This particular poem doesn’t immediately speak to me, but I’ll revisit it later: maybe I’m just too hot!

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    1. We are in the same heatwave on our side of the world so remembering springtime at the Butchart Gardens reminded me that September will be coming soon and cooler weather will be here in a few short weeks.

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