He fumbles at your Soul
As Players at the Keys
Before they drop full Music on--
He stuns you by degrees-
Prepares your brittle Nature
For the Ethereal Blow
By fainter Hammers- further heard--
Then nearer--Then so slow
Your Breath has time to straighten-
Your Brain to bubble Cool--
That scalps your naked Soul--
When Winds take Forests in their Paws-
The Universe--is still--
My life closed twice before its close--
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me
So huge, so hopeless to conceive
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.
Excerpted from The Selected Poetry of Emily Dickinson: New York Public Library Collectors Edition by Emily Dickinson. Reprinted by permission of Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979, 1973 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of the Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.