Poetry Friday

[Poetry Friday]: A Child’s Life, A Mother’s Choice and Emily Dickinson

poetry friday

Iphigene here.

When I discovered poetry, I devoured it as if I had been starved of it for ages. I read poems here and there, yet, it was Emily Dickinson that spoke to me. Her style refreshing. As a child, I always thought of poetry as rhyme and meter. Dickinson was a game-changer.

At the same time, as I explored my own poetry I began writing about feelings–abstract feelings, defining my own angst into truncated lines. But as I grew into poetry, I wanted to do more than tell my feelings. Hence, began the desire to tell stories. My poetry began to explore different situations, some close to home, others so far removed from my reality. The greater task, however, was not in the narration of the story but in delving into the feelings of my characters. The “I” and “you” in my poetry began to take life as people I try, in my imagination, to capture in bits of words and imagery.

Today’s poem, is something I wrote that is inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poems and the stories I imagine. The poem has in it references to Dickinson’s poetry which I would including here. I hope you enjoy this poem. Thanks to Michelle Barnes @ Today’s Little Ditty for hosting.


Emily Dickinson’s poem referenced in Unlike Emily

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.


‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

(the rest here)


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

(the rest here)

16 comments on “[Poetry Friday]: A Child’s Life, A Mother’s Choice and Emily Dickinson

  1. Laura Shovan

    This is such a powerful poem, Iphigene. I especially like the image of hope with clipped wings. Haven’t we all felt that way sometimes?

    A friend recently gave me a book of Emily Dickinson’s envelope poems and scribblings. It’s amazing to see photographs of her handwriting on all of those scraps.


    • Hi Laura,
      Thank you.
      Yes, I even think before we could get to hopeful sometimes we need to go through having its wings clipped.

      I haven’t seen the envelope poems, that sounds lovely. She was a prolific poet.


  2. Beautifully written. I have gone back to reread a few times. There are so many good parts to this. Thank you for sharing!


    • Oh Donna, to re-read it…that just makes my heart swell. I am so glad this poem spoke to you and you enjoyed it enough to read it again. Thank YOU for taking the time read it. 🙂


  3. “And my words shall soon grow tired”, beautiful and of course, sad for the one left behind, that loss of companionship, Iphigene. I love hearing the background, your love for Dickinson, and then the story. Thank you for sharing this personal story.


    • Hi Linda,
      Yes, you capture what I was trying to convey so well. I am glad you enjoyed that bit of introduction. I’m starting to feel that its necessary especially when the poems I share are either original or close to me. Thanks for the visit Linda and for making me glad to have shared this post. 🙂


  4. Wow. It was wonderful how you captured the essences of each poem with such originality in your.


    • Hi Tara,
      Thank you. When i wrote this i was reading a loy of Dickinson and those three poems were my first favorites. While it was not intetional on my part to make them part of the poem itself I found it couldnt be helped as i spoke of her at the start of the poem.


  5. You certainly have a talent for writing rich and captivating poetry, Iphigene! Your first stanza grabbed me and never let go. So lovely. So heartbreaking.


    • Thank you Michelle. That’s reassuring. What more can i ask for? But i am glad you enjoyed this poem and that it spoke to you. I can only thank the muses for allowing to write this and tell its story.


  6. What a lovely way to honor Emily Dickinson and what her poems mean to you! Maybe you would like these poems about E.D.: http://kathleenflenniken.com/blog/?tag=emily-dickinson-and-elvis-presley-in-heaven and http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2010/12/10 ?


    • Hi tabatha,
      Thank you for sharing that poem. I enjoyed it. In a way this poem is me fan girling on the poet who changes the concept of poetry for me. Thanks for reading.


  7. Thank you for sharing this moving poem. I love how you’ve used Emily’s ideas and words in new ways. Perhaps my favorite line is “And my hope shall clip its wings.” It is both sad and beautiful.


    • Hi Tricia,
      Thank you. I am glad that this poem spoke to you. When I read Dickinson’s poem on hope i wasnt sure i agreed with it the first time. I was not hopeful as a teen and clipping its wings echoed more my thoughts on hope. In this poem, i echoed those thoughts. Thanks again for reading.


  8. Beautiful!


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