Boxes For All Reasons

Poem 169 by Emily Dickinson

Posted on: July 1, 2011

Emily Dickinson numbered her poems rather than giving them titles.  This poem was written in 1860.  Ebon means Ebony.

169
Emily Dickinson

In Ebon Box, when years have flown
To reverently peer,
Wiping away the velvet dust
Summers have sprinkled there!

To hold a letter to the light—
Grown Tawny now, with time—
To con the faded syllables
That quickened us like Wine!

Perhaps a Flower’s shrivelled check
Among its stores to find—
Plucked far away, some morning—
By gallant—mouldering hand!

A curl, perhaps, from foreheads
Our Constancy forgot—
Perhaps, an Antique trinket—
In vanished fashions set!

And then to lay them quiet back—
And go about its care—
As if the little Ebon Box
Were none of our affair!


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