Tag Archives: Poetry

Saturday Seven: My Favourite Emily Dickinson Poems

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Poetry was one of my favourite things in high school. I took a long break from it once I became an adult, but I’ve recently felt the urge to read it again.

I thought I’d dive back into this genre by revisiting some of the poets I enjoyed the most. Today I’ll share some short poems from Emily Dickinson that always make me smile or think. I once owned a very large book that contained every poem she’d ever written that still exists. (Sadly, some of her work was destroyed by her sister-in-law and other relatives after her death. We still don’t know for sure why they did that, but it was a terrible loss for her fans).

Yes, there’s an excellent reason why none of the below poems have titles. Ms. Dickinson actually didn’t bother naming the majority of her poems! They were given numbers instead or even written on scraps of paper and bundled together tidily.

My future Saturday Seven posts will shine a spotlight on other poets I enjoy. I won’t talk about poetry every week for this meme, but I’m tentatively hoping to do it about once a month in the future.

Poem #1:

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.

Poem #2:

I HAD no time to hate, because
The grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.

Nor had I time to love; but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me.

Poem #3:

LOOK back on time with kindly eyes,
He doubtless did his best;
How softly sinks his trembling sun
In human nature’s west!

Poem #4:

The bustle in a house
The morning after death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted upon earth,–

The sweeping up the heart,
And putting love away
We shall not want to use again
Until eternity.

Poem #5:

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish — you know!

How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell one’s name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

Poem #6:

Surgeons must be very careful
When they take the knife!
Underneath their fine incisions
Stirs the Culprit—Life!

Poem #7:

Two Butterflies went out at Noon—
And waltzed above a Farm—
Then stepped straight through the Firmament
And rested on a Beam—

And then—together bore away
Upon a shining Sea—
Though never yet, in any Port—
Their coming mentioned—be—

If spoken by the distant Bird—
If met in Ether Sea
By Frigate, or by Merchantman—
No notice—was—to me—

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are any of you fans of poetry? If so, which poems and poets do you like?

Can a Blog Post Be Too Short?

Eliza tweeted this to me last week in response to Why I Don’t Agree with Padding Out Blog Posts. I thought it would make a great idea for a follow-up post today.

In order to answer that question, I must ask you a few more questions first: How short is a poem allowed to be? Is there a specific word count it must have to be counted as a poem?

The shortest poem I’ve ever loved was five words long. I’ve also been thrilled by other poems that are six and sixteen words long respectively.

Despite their minuscule word counts, at least one of them has become so famous that children study it in school because the people who created them spent so much time packing many layers of meaning into every single word.

The same can be said for blog posts. Just like some of them are meant to be thousands of words long, others can be much tinier than you might imagine.

For example, there is a blogger who regularly challenges himself to write 100 word blog posts. He’s written dozens of them so far, and all of them are thought-provoking because of the close attention he pays to making every single word in them has a purpose and can’t be reduced to a simpler, shorter explanation.

When you’re writing something that small and concise, there is no room for error. If you don’t cover all of the material that your post was attempting to cover, your post will be too small. If you’re able to do justice to your topic with your word count, how big it is won’t matter.

What about blog posts that are smaller than 100 words? I have heard of people blogging nothing but photographs, but I have yet to come across anyonewho has tried to limit their post count to less than 100 words. It would be fascinating to see what you came up with if you gave yourself a 70, 50, or even a 10 word limit as an experiment, though.

The Connection Between Poetry and Blog Posts

With that being said, Eliza, I’d strongly recommend reading and writing poetry if you want to routinely create very small blog posts. It’s not easy to condense your thoughts down into such a small amount of space, especially for topics that aren’t clear cut or incredibly narrow.

Figuring out how poets handle conflicting emotions and topics that could easily be expanded into a full-length book will give you all kinds of tools for trimming out unnecessary words, sharpening your vision, and making sure that what you see is also what your audience sees.

If you or anyone else is interested in learning more, start reading as many different types, styles, and lengths  of poems as you can. The hashtag #Haiku and #Poetry on Twitter are great places to start for the contemporary stuff. There are hundreds of amateur and professional poets who use those hashtags to share their work and introduce everyone to other wonderful poems that they’ve discovered.

I’m purposefully not sharing any specific usernames of Twitter poets with you because of how important it is to seek them out yourself. Poetry is a subjective field. What speaks to me might not have the same affect on you, and vice versa. I’ve also found that my favourite poets have shifted wildly over time, so I’d recommend occasionally seeking out new poets and styles of poetry even for people who have been immersed in this genre for years.

Now I will end this post with a picture of cactuses. They were my original metaphor for blog post lengths in my first draft of this post, and I can’t bear to stop typing before I show you just how much they can vary from each other as well.

May your poems, cactuses, and blog posts always be exactly as big as you need them to be.