Emily Dickinson

Dad reads “Pain” to Gerry during one of their reading practice sessions.  It has a very special meaning to Dad.  Later he reads “My Life Closed Twice” to his students, but they can’t understand the very short and powerful poem the way he can.

Emily Dickinson Emily Dickinson was born in 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts.  She led a very secluded life, publishing her work mostly by sharing it personally with friends.  In time she came to avoid people and actually stayed inside during her father’s funeral.  When she died, her sister Lavinia discovered a trunk full of her poems.

You can learn more about Emily Dickinson and her work at your library or at many web sites, including these two:


My Life Closed Twice Before its Close

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.

Pain Has an Element of Blank

Pain has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there was
A time when it was not.

It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.