Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Describing Emily Dickinson to a Pirate

"Hope is the things with feathers / That perches in the soul...."

I have just been reminded (over at The Florian Cafe ) that today is Emily Dickinson's birthday. When I studied Dickinson's work in college - especially the "riddle" making - I grew to love her strange dash- dominated phrasings. Douglas Florian's post reminded me that she seldom traveled, yet she wrote that she knew "how the heather looks / and what a wave must be." It's hard to imagine never having seen a wave, isn't it?

Since I offered up a Blackbeard clerihew yesterday, today I will offer my tongue-in-cheek, skull-and-crossbones tribute to the Belle of Amherst:

Describing Emily Dickinson to a Pirate

There was no parrot, no peg leg, no hook.
She rattled no sabers, shook no swords
except metaphorically, was terrifically
girlie, a loner, a virgin (vestal, as in white dresses.)
Despite a few Wild Nights, no cannonballs.
Eventually died for beauty, though
no walking of plank and no plunk
or splash. Never pissed off the bow
of a vessel under sail. Not hail, not hearty,
not a party girl, disliked stormy weather.
No blimeys, no maties, no arrrrrghs,
though lots— and lots— of dashes—
and she had a thing— for feathers.


  1. Emily's poem #1446

    Sweet Pirate of the heart,
    Not Pirate of the Sea,
    What wrecketh thee?
    Some spice's Mutiny —
    Some Attar's perfidy?
    Confide in me.

  2. Decrying a Pirate to Emily

    There is no plankton like a book--
    Nor shot across the bow--
    Nor bowlines wrapped around that crook
    To drop him down below.

    His eye patch might preclude a look--
    His pistol just for show--
    But read his heart just like a book
    And wreckage you shall know.


  3. I had completely forgoteen about ED's #1446!! Thanks, D.

    And ditto thanks, Jane, for the "plankton like a book" - wonderful!