Well watered were her buds, the long nights through

Things there were and services; though young, she knew.
Father large and lonely, prodigious will profuse.
“What,” she breathed, “might I be, containing all of you?”
Nothing, no one, came the response, dark nights through.

Swamps must be drained, green hollows plowed and used;
Nicely with this effort, stumps and stones are loosed –
Easy to ignore; what matters are the fruits!
Just for her the hardness, sharp edges and deep roots.

And then from overseas – she heard some news:
Miners in the jungle, gold and silver pursued;
Pursued until they saw, splintered by their tools,
Gems and crystals brilliant, light green, rose and blue.

Though as for her stones, even friends found them rude.
She had to make up lovers equally enthused.
No need for a ring, fresh linens abuse.
Diadems imagined, a figurine was soothed,

nude woman as if in outer space; from charcoal sketch by William Eaton, 2019And might make up its lists: of words not quite true;
Words to tickle ears, the devil to confuse,
Like sex parts’ funny names children were to use,
While bees, full of spring, tender petals perused.

A cipher she invented, being clever too;
Decency and grammar, equally excused;
And those who knew the code: less than a few.
Most were left uncomfortable: to themselves true!

Well watered were her buds, the long nights through.
Mortality awaited – her words to diffuse.
Green hills and dark hollows to resound with her tunes,
And girls’ thighs delighting, in love with the moon.


— Poem and drawings by William Eaton

Pour l’absence d’une version en français, je m’excuse auprès des lecteurs francophones. DeepL traduit bien et vite ; cependant, ce poème repose tellement dans des allusions . . . 

Y por la ausencia de una versión en español, pido disculpas a los lectores hispanohablantes. DeepL traduce bien y rápidamente; sin embargo, este poema descansa tanto en alusiones . . . 

More intellectual readers may be interested in my essay Dickinson’s Dying Tiger. Please note, however, that the poem above, though it touches on, does not seek to describe, accurately or inaccurately, Emily Dickinson’s life and work. Indeed, among my principal tasks: maintaining the life in a poem in which every line-ending rhymes with all the others.

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