May 16th, 2004

alice facepalm

Returning.

posted in greatpoets

Returning.

I years had been from home,
And now, before the door,
I dared not open, lest a face
I never saw before

Stare vacant into mine
And ask my business there.
My business,-----just a life I left,
Was such still dwelling there?

I fumbled at my nerve,
I scanned the windows near;
The silence like an ocean rolled,
And broke against my ear.

I laughed a wooden laugh
That I could fear a door,
Who danger and the dead had faced,
But never quaked before.

I fitted to the latch
My hand, with trembling care,
Lest back the awful door should spring,
And leave me standing there.

I moved my fingers off
As cautiously as glass,
And held my ears, and like a thief
Fled gasping from the house.

- Emily Dickinson


I Years had been from Home
And now before the Door
I dared not enter, lest a Face
I never saw before

Stare stolid into mine
And ask my Business there-
"My business but a Life I left
Was such remaining there?"

I leaned upon the Awe-
I lingered with Before-
The Second like an Ocean rolled
And broke against my ear-

I laughed a crumbling Laugh
That I could fear a Door
Who Consternation compassed
And never winced before.

I fitted to the Latch
My Hand, with trembling care
Lest back the awful Door should spring
And leave me in the Floor-

Then moved my Fingers off
As cautiously as Glass
And held my ears, and like a Thief
Fled gasping from the House-

- Emily Dickinson
c. 1872
#609 (Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, ed. Thomas H. Johnson)