American poet Emily Dickinson would have celebrated her 185th birthday today.
Despite being highly introverted, Dickinson wrote nearly 1,800 poems throughout her life (though fewer than a dozen were published while she was alive). It wasn't until after her death in 1886 that the public was gifted with Dickinson's verse — her younger sister, Lavinia, discovered pages and pages of writing and sent it to a publisher.
To celebrate one of the most significant American poets of all time, here are 19 lines and excerpts from Dickinson's poetry. We hope they can uplift and inspire you today!
Forever is composed of nows.
Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.
Shame need not crouch
In such an earth as ours
The universe is yours.
The brain has corridors surpassing
If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.
To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee.
And revery. The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.
Beauty is not caused. It is.
Because I could not stop for death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves and immortality.
The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.
Luck is not chance—
Fortune’s expensive smile
Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
We turn not older with years, but newer every day.
That it will never come again is what makes life sweet.
Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.
A word is dead
When it is said,
I say it just
Begins to live
A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
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