Emily Dickinson’s Encounters with the Sublime

edA certain slant of light today suggested to me this deserved a fresh look for “refreshment’s” sake. 

There’s a certain slant of light,
Winter Afternoons–
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes–

Heavenly Hurt it gives us–
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the Meanings are–

None may teach it– Any–
‘Tis the Seal Despair–
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air–

When it comes, the Landscape listens–
Shadows– hold their breath–
When it goes, ’tis like the Distance
On the look of Death–


Oh, winter.

Margaret Langstaff

© Copyright 2013, Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved.


                    Nature and God – I neither knew

                   Yet Both so well knew me

                   They startled, like Executors

                   Of My identity.—E.D.

Dickinson wrote and sent this poem ("A Ro... Dickinson wrote and sent this poem (“A Route to Evanescence”) to Thomas Higginson in 1880. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve read, studied and written about Emily Dickinson’s poetry on and off for over thirty years, my serious interest and examination of it beginning long ago in graduate school and resulting in my master’s thesis. Like a dog with a good bone, though, I wouldn’t let it go even then and continued research and scholarly reading on Dickinson during the rest of my academic studies and when those days were finally over, I found it had become not only a matter of taste and fascination, but—for lack of a better word, a habit. One would think my…

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About Margaret Jean Langstaff

A lifelong critical reader with literary tastes, a novelist, short story writer, essayist, book critic, and professional book editor for many years. A consultant to publishers and authors, providing manuscript critiques and a full range of editorial services. A friend and supporter of all other readers and writers. A collector of signed modern first editions. Animal lover and tree hugger. Follow me on Twitter @LangstaffEditor
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