To Emily Dickinson

By Yvor Winters 1900–1968 Yvor Winters
Dear Emily, my tears would burn your page,
But for the fire-dry line that makes them burn—
Burning my eyes, my fingers, while I turn
Singly the words that crease my heart with age.
If I could make some tortured pilgrimage
Through words or Time or the blank pain of Doom
And kneel before you as you found your tomb,
Then I might rise to face my heritage.

Yours was an empty upland solitude
Bleached to the powder of a dying name;
The mind, lost in a word’s lost certitude
That faded as the fading footsteps came
To trace an epilogue to words grown odd
In that hard argument which led to God.

Yvor Winters, “To Emily Dickinson” from The Collected Poems of Yvor Winters. Used by permission of Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio.

Source: The Collected Poems of Yvor Winters (1960)

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Poet Yvor Winters 1900–1968

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Poetry & Poets, Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 Yvor  Winters

Biography

When Yvor Winters’s publisher and friend Alan Swallow hailed him in 1940 as the “sage of Palo Alto,” he accurately touched on the paradox of Winters’s career: the isolation in which he became admired as a poet, a teacher, and critic of poetry. For Winters, who adopted California early in his career as his permanent home, participated in the major poetic and critical movements of the 20th century—imagism, the expatriate . . .

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SUBJECT Poetry & Poets, Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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