The way I read a letter ‘s this

The way I read a letter ‘s this:
‘T is first I lock the door,
And push it with my fingers next,
For transport it be sure.

And then I go the furthest off
To counteract a knock;
Then draw my little letter forth
And softly pick its lock.

Then, glancing narrow at the wall,
And narrow at the floor,
For firm conviction of a mouse
Not exorcised before,

Peruse how infinite I am
To — no one that you know!
And sigh for lack of heaven, — but not
The heaven the creeds bestow.

Emily Dickinson,¬†The way I read a letter ‘s this¬†(Emily Dickinson’s Poetry)

As my literature students have been discussing the two years Thoreau spent living in the woods, I’ve reflected on what it might have meant to be part of a society where people didn’t expect to be able to contact each other immediately and get instant responses.

When will I *ever* get an e-mail that makes me withdraw this far, in order to prepare myself for the emotions I expect the e-mail will bring?


The way I read an e-mail ‘s this:
‘T is first I maximize
The Outlook window that reveals
The message to my eyes.

In my Picassa files I find
A slideshow sure to please
As I make use of reading-time
To download MP3s.

I’ll quickly check my voice-mail box
And scan my server log.
I’ll sync up next my PDA
And weed my spam-marred blog.

A multi-tasking mambo man —
Digitally alive —
I read “Dear Sir” and stop, for then
Two more e-mails arrive.

2 thoughts on “The way I read a letter ‘s this

  1. Actually, now that I think of it, in 1992 I left my fiancee behind and went off to start my Ph.D. program. She followed me to the same school a year later, and during the year in which we were apart, an e-mail from her would indeed have prompted this kind of a response.

  2. Bravo, Dennis! Excellent poem.

    I remember a time when certain e-mails could make me retreat to read them. I believe it was 1991. :-) Unfortunately, back then I didn’t have a home computer, and was limited to reading e-mail at work or in a campus lab, so I couldn’t achieve the kind of privacy ED looked for —

    Molly (formerly of We Won’t Let You Do That)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *