Published on: 10/22/2008
Emily Dickinson on a Guggenheim
Dearest Lavinia: Venice is unexpected.
All day I walk on water, like Peter.
I step from a boat into a pearl
from which some idle god has carved a church.
He has a string of such beads,
like soap bubbles rising from a dishpan.
You would have cats enough, sister
if you were here! They clutter the doorways
and are over-supplied with kittens.
At night I stand in an archway
and look at St. Mark's - don't think
I sit in a bright-lighted restaurant, pretending
I'm one of the gentry, O no!
I'm a strange wayside gypsy still,
and silent as marble column,
I almost walk invisible.
But as for poems-
I think poems live like pigeons,
thriving on a lean diet. Feed them
too much, and they no longer fly,
just bow and chuckle to each other.
My mind is over-fed here. Adam
and Eve and the 12 Apostles
shine here in white and gold,
and yet I think
I have more to say to a hummingbird,
and more love for the river-pink.