I can never decide whether I really like Dickinson or whether I just appreciate her (and you will appreciate the difference). It nags me because so many others are passionate about her poetry and I get the guilts in case it is because she is a woman poet and I don’t like the voice … but I am pretty gender neutral when it comes to that, as you can tell from Picnic Poetry.

This poem appeared on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac yesterday.

This World Is Not Conclusion

by Emily Dickinson

this world is not conclusion
a species stands beyond –
invisible, as music –
but positive as sound –

it beckons, and it baffles
philosophy – don’t know –
and through a riddle, at the last –
sagacity must go –

to guess it, puzzles scholars –
to gain it, men have borne
contempt of generations
and crucifixion, shown –

faith slips – and laughs, and rallies –
blushes, if any see –
plucks at a twig of evidence –
and asks a vane, the way –

much gesture, from the pulpit –
strong hallelujahs roll –
narcotics cannot still the tooth
that nibbles at the soul –