Emily Dickinson is widely considered to be a great poetess, one who knows how to identify with nature in its entirety. Be it animals, trees, human beings, or emotions, Dickinson brings out the truth in every one of her poems with a profundity that is hardly found anywhere in this time and age. Emily Dickinson shows, in each of her poems, that it is possible for one to find joy in the littlest things in life and to expound those seemingly unneeded problems into life lessons.
But let me be honest how I came across this book in the first place.
I had heard of the name of this wonderful poetess way back when we were reading Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken in school. But I couldn’t find the heart to veer away from that road and betray that author. Such was the hold that Frost had upon me then. If anybody asked who my favorite author was, I’d immediately say Robert Frost.
I came across this Kindle eBook for just 65 rupees. But it took me a lot of debating with my inner self to give in and finally buy it in April last year. The Frost-admirer was taking hold of me at the time, I think. And it took yet a few more months of debating before I took up this book of poetry and finally read it.
Now, I’m glad I made the decision – both to buy it and to read it.
Just look through the lines below and you will see the raw truth glaring back at you:
Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.
‘T is the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane;
Demur, – you’re straightaway dangerous,
And handled with a chain.
One of the most intelligently written poems of all time, yet Emily Dickinson didn’t give it a name. I don’t think it needs one anyway. And when it appears just on page 3 (pun totally unintended) of this vast collection of her poems, it is sort of a preamble to the greatness that follows, lurking in the simplicity of her words.
Emily Dickinson’s poems have a way of soothing your senses with hard-hitting truths, however hard that might be to imagine. When you realize this, you are taken aback for a few moments, but there is serenity in your realizations. It is this serenity that I fell in love with.
There is, however, a small exception in my admiration for this poetess who surpasses language. A few poems were not to my understanding. And this is not because there is any lacking in her words. My mind isn’t probably in that place right now. In a few years, perhaps, these very poems will become gems in my view. And it is because of this that The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson gets the rating it does. There are high chances we shall revisit this five or ten years in the future.
Nevertheless, on the whole, these poems are proof why poetry is the shortest and the most beautiful form of writing ever. 🙂
To end this review of a good book, here are a few more excerpts from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson:
Death is the common right
Of toads and men,
Of earl and midge
Why swagger then?
The gnat’s supremacy
Is large as thine.
This world is not conclusion;
A sequel stands beyond,
Invisible, as music,
But positive, as sound.
Drowning is not so pitiful
As the attempt to rise.
A word is dead
When it is said,
I say it just
Begins to live
GHOSTS [excerpt] :
One need not be a chamber to be haunted,
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Rating: 4/5 stars
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