Saturday, January 5, 2019

Emily Dickinson — a letter to the world

This is my letter to the World
That never wrote to Me —
The simple News that Nature told —
With tender Majesty

Her Message is committed
To Hands I cannot see —
For love of Her — Sweet — countrymen —
Judge tenderly —of Me

Personal Postscript — I offer the foregoing poem by Emily Dickinson as a tribute and commitment. Let me explain. A friend died recently, and I found out yesterday that she — a woman who I knew had read widely but selectively — had left me several books. Among the books, which I gathered up and brought home yesterday, is a very old and heavily annotated collection of Emily Dickinson’s poems; my friend had jotted down extensive marginalia beside nearly every poem, and I feel as though those handwritten jottings have become my late friend’s letter to me. Today I offer you the Dickinson poem as a tribute to my deceased friend, and as a simple sign of my commitment to spend a lot of time reading, treasuring, and sharing my friend’s tender gift. 


  1. I'm sorry for your loss, Tim. That is a wonderful, beautiful gift from your friend, and makes me reconsider my hesitance to write in books.

    1. Thanks, Marian. The Emily Dickinson book is a wonder filled gift. I might mention the other books in future postings.

  2. Wow. That is a wonderful gift your friend gave you. Even though you cannot replace her and I'm sorry for your loss, I'm so glad she left you this precious souvenir of her friendship. Especially since Emily Dickenson means so much to you.

    I really like the first sentence in this poem. It resonates with me. "This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me."

  3. how nice of her to remember you that way... she must have thought a lot of you... it's a very nice, almost zenish poem; i like the way it expresses the gifts of nature as being part of everyone...

  4. Sharon and Mudpuddle .... tis an amazing gift .... the marginalia blow my mind!
    She was a kindred spirit, and I should have known her better.