For Emily Dickinson

by Hortense Landauer (born 1911) For an anthologist's note to this poem, click here.

The gates were triple adamant,
The sapphire walls were seven,
Where I saw Emily's lightfoot ghost
Slip into Milton's heaven.

On the dimity apron round her waist
Were folded into narrow hands,
The Cherubim and Seraphim stood
In massy luminous bands.

The Principalities and the Powers
Dominions, Virtues, Thrones,
The Angels and Archangels viewed
Her small and spectral bones.

As she cast one look at the far-below world
Swung on a golden chain,
And over her valorous brow there passed
An unimmortal pain.

The Powers and Dominions flew
In cautious orbits round
The throne where their Creator sat
With flame excessive crowned;

The Cherubim and the Seraphim
Veiled their celestial gaze,
With both their wings they shunned the sight
Of His effulgent blaze.

But plucking her dimity apron straight
And setting her collar right,
Emily took three confident steps
Up to the Core of Light.

Through the terrible nimbus of His throne
Three confident steps she trod,
Till sheer in His presence Emily stood,
Framed in the Glory of God,

And where the Angels were bowing blind
She widened imperative eyes
That made beyond predestined bliss
Insatiable surmise.


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Last modified: Wednesday, 18-Jul-2007 16:25:53 EDT