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Dickinson, Emily - ‘Tis not that dying hurts us so ‘Tis living hurts us more



Type of Spiritual Experience


The following poems by Emily Dickinson emphasises the double aspect of the bird as both the Higher spirit in its bodied state and the Higher spirit taking flight as the disembodied with its long journey ‘home’ back to the Tree of Life or wherever the spirit is intending to go after death.

A description of the experience

Emily Dickinson – from the Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

‘Tis not that dying hurts us so
‘Tis living hurts us more
But dying is a different way
A kind behind the door

The southern custom of the bird
That ere the frosts are due
Accepts a better latitude
We are the birds that stay

The shiverers round farmers’ doors
For whose reluctant crumb
We stipulate till pitying snows
Persuade our feathers home

Emily Dickinson – from the Poems of Emily Dickinson

There’s something quieter than sleep
Within this inner room
It wears a sprig upon its breast
And will not tell its name

Some touch it and some kiss it
Some chafe its idle hand
It has a simple gravity
I do not understand

I would not weep if I were they
How rude in one to sob
Might scare the quiet fairy
Back to her native wood

While simple hearted neighbours
Chat of the early dead
We – prone to periphrasis
Remark that birds have fled

The source of the experience

Dickinson, Emily

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