Emily Dickenson (1830-1886)

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”

“If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.”

“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.”

“Morning without you is a dwindled dawn.”

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?”

“Forever is composed of nows.”

“Saying nothing sometimes says the most.”

“I dwell in possibility…”

“To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.”

“This is my letter to the world
That never wrote to me”

“Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell.”

“Nature is a haunted house — but Art — is a house that tries to be haunted.”

“Pardon my sanity in a world insane”

“I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us?
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!”

“Beauty is not caused. It is.”

“A word is dead when it’s been said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day.”

“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.”

“Bring me the sunset in a cup.”

“Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.”

“There is no Frigate like a book
To take us Lands away,
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry…”

“How happy is the little stone
That rambles in the road alone,
And doesn’t care about careers,
And exigencies never fears;
Whose coat of elemental brown
A passing universe put on;
And independent as the sun,
Associates or glows alone,
Fulfilling absolute decree
In casual simplicity.”

“Truth is so rare, it is delightful to tell it.”

“I don’t profess to be profound; but I do lay claim to common sense.”

“The dearest ones of time, the strongest friends of the soul — BOOKS.”

“Hold dear to your parents for it is a scary and confusing world without them.”

“We turn not older with years but newer every day.”

“Till I loved I never lived.”

“That I shall love always,
I argue thee
that love is life,
and life hath immortality”

“Heart, we will forget him,

You and I, tonight!

You must forget the warmth he gave,

I will forget the light.”

“We never know how high we are till we are called to rise. Then if we are true to form our statures touch the skies.”

“The lovely flowers embarrass me.
They make me regret I am not a bee…”

“I felt it shelter to speak to you.”

“Life is a spell so exquisite that everything conspires to break it.”

“We outgrow love like other things and put it in a drawer, till it an antique fashion shows like costumes grandsires wore.”

“They might not need me; but they might.
I’ll let my head be just in sight;
A smile as small as mine might be
Precisely their necessity.”

“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.”

“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.”

“Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotion know what it means to want to escape from these.”

“One need not be a chamber to be haunted.”

“Parting is all we know of Heaven, and all we need of Hell.”

“But a book is only the heart’s portrait- every page a pulse.”

“An ear can break a human heart
As quickly as a spear,
We wish the ear had not a heart
So dangerously near.”

“I tasted life.”

“How do most people live without any thought? There are many people in the world, — you must have noticed them in the street, — how do they live? How do they get strength to put on their clothes in the morning?”

“Judge tenderly of me.”

“A little madness in the Spring is wholesome even for the King.”

“If you were coming in the fall,
I’d brush the summer by,
With half a smile and half a spurn,
As housewives do a fly.

If I could see you in a year,
I’d wind the months in balls,
And put them each in separate drawers,
Until their time befalls.”

“Behavior is what a man does, not what he thinks, feels, or believes.”

“My love for those I love — not many — not very many, but don’t I love them so?”

“A great hope fell
You heard no noise
The ruin was within.”

“Tell all the truth but tell it slant—
Success in circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The truth’s superb surprise
As lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind—”

“Those who have not found the heaven below, will fail of it above.”

“Love is anterior to life, posterior to death, initial of creation, and the exponent of breath.”

“He ate and drank the precious words,
His spirit grew robust;
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was dust.
He danced along the dingy days,
And this bequest of wings
Was but a book. What liberty
A loosened spirit brings!”

“Tis not that dieing hurts us so – tis living- hurts us more.”

“A wounded dear leaps the highest”

“My friends are my estate.”

“Write me of hope and love, and hearts that endured.”

“The heart wants what it wants – or else it does not care”

“They say that God is everywhere and yet we always think of him as somewhat of a recluse.”

“Love is its own rescue; for we, at our supremest, are but its trembling emblems.”

“They say that ‘home is where the heart is.’ I think it is where the house is, and the adjacent buildings.”

“The brain is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include
With ease, and you beside.”

“Till it has loved, no man or woman can become itself.”

“People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles.”

“I must go in, the fog is rising.”

“Dying is a wild night and a new road.”

“I cannot live with you,
It would be life,
And life is over there
Behind the shelf ”

“That love is all there is, is all we know of love.”

“My best Acquaintances are those with whom I spoke no word”

“Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality.”
“Luck is not chance, it’s toil; fortune’s expensive smile is earned.”

“Old age comes on suddenly, and not gradually as is thought.”

“I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven.”

“Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. Espousing the former is not defending the latter.”

“The Truth must dazzle gradually or every man be blind.”

“How strange that nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude!”

“My life closed twice before its close;
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me,
So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.”

“The truth I do not dare to know I muffle with a jest.”

“Till I loved I never liked enough.”

“Opinion is a fitting thing but truth outlasts the sun – if then we cannot own them both, possess the oldest one.”

“You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself.”

“Fame is a fickle food upon a shifting plate. ”

“To see her is a picture-
To hear her is a tune-
To know her an Intemperance
As innocent as June-
To know her not-Affliction-
To own her for a Friend
A warmth as near as if the the Sun
Were shining in your Hand.”

“Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.”

“Whenever a thing is done for the first time, it releases a little demon.”
“To be alive ── is Power.”

“Celebrity is the chastisement of merit and the punishment of talent.”

“Hope perches in the soul and sings… And never stops at all.”

“The Heart is the Capital of the Mind —
The Mind is a single State —
The Heart and the Mind together make
A single Continent —

One — is the Population—
Numerous enough—
This ecstatic Nation
Seek—it is Yourself.”

“I took my Power in my Hand —
And went against the World —
‘Twas not so much as David — had —
But I — was twice as bold —

“If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”

“The poet lights the light and fades away. But the light goes on and on.”

“My business is circumference.”

“There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away…”

“My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun –
In Corners – till a Day
The Owner passed – identified –
And carried Me away -”

“The only secret people keep is immortality.”

“Expectation is contentment – Gain satiety. ”

“They say that “Time assuages” –
Time never did assuage –
An actual suffering strengthens
As Sinews do, with age –

Time is a Test of Trouble –
But not a Remedy –
If such it prove, it prove too
There was no Malady”

“A word that breathes distinctly has not the power to die”

“Fortune befriends the bold.”

“The truth must dazzle gradually. Or every man be blind.”

“The Soul selects her own Society.”

“I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.”

“The soul should always stand ajar.”

“The only Commandment I ever obeyed — Consider the Lilies.”

“Grant me, O Lord, a sunny mind – Thy windy will to bear!”

“To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie—
True Poems flee—”

“I hide myself within my flower
That wearing on your breast,
You, unsuspecting, wear me too—
And angels know the rest.

I hide myself within my flower,
That, fading from your vase,
You, unsuspecting, feel for me
Almost a loneliness…”

“Love is Immortality.”

“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know this is poetry.”

“The pedigree of honey does not concern the bee; A clover, any time, to him is aristocracy.”

“Hope is the thing with feathers”
“To live is so startling, it leaves very little time for anything else.”

“I never lost as much but twice,
And that was in the sod;
Twice have I stood a beggar
Before the door of God!

Angels, twice descending,
Reimbursed my store.
Burglar, banker, father,
I am poor once more!”

“Finite to fail, but infinite to venture.”

“It’s all i have to bring today
this and my heart beside
this and my heart and all the fields
and all the meadows wide
be sure to count
should i forget
someone the sum could tell
this and my heart and all the bees
which in the clovers dwell”

“Drowning is not so pitiful as the attempt to rise.”

“I have no life but this-
To lead it here-
Nor any death – but lest
Dispelled from there-

Nor tie to earths to come-
Nor action new-
Except through this extent-
The realm of you.”

“I believe in possibility.”

“We journey to the day,
And tell each other how we sang
To keep the dark away.”

“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!”

“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.”

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