The Riddle of Emily Dickinson








Almost nothing about Emily Dickinson
is simple and clear-cut. There are no reasons
why. And it is the delicate business
of the biographer to explore it all.
She herself would not answer any questions,
not a word. She kept her private life private.
In deference, we should walk into the mystery
standing up. Her life like the major vehicle
of her poetry grew older and more delicate
over time. She enjoyed a way of conveying truth
that was like an archer at an archness.
She enjoyed riddles. The riddle we can guess,
we speedily despise. In a life that stopped
guessing, she did not feel at home.

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