National Poetry Month: More Emily Dickinson

I am spending much of my leisure with Emily Dickinson this month. I am a constant reader of Latin poetry, but when I get into the American or English poetry-reading mood, I become obsessed with a single author. I enjoy Emily’s company exceedingly, and lines of her poetry pop into my mind at the oddest moments. What does she mean by this exactly, I wonder while staring at the broccoli at the grocery store. Quite often the line is about a bee. Emily is so bright, arcane, and witty that she sometimes stings–like one of her famous bees!

Here are two of Dickinson’s poems about fame, one of them with her favorite insect–a bee!

Fame is a bee.

Fame is a bee.
It has a song—
It has a sting—
Ah, too, it has a wing.

Fame is a fickle food.

Fame is a fickle food
Upon a shifting plate
Whose table once a
Guest but not
The second time is set
Whose crumbs the crows inspect
And with ironic caw
Flap past it to the
Farmer’s corn
Men eat of it and die


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