Thursday, July 15, 2010

heaven all along

On Fresh Air the other day, Billy Collins noted Emily Dickinson's "radical" style of free-thinking, as evidenced by this poem:
SOME keep the Sabbath going to church;
I keep it staying at home,
With a bobolink for a chorister,
And an orchard for a dome.
Some keep the Sabbath in surplice;
I just wear my wings,
And instead of tolling the bell for church,
Our little sexton sings.
God preaches,—a noted clergyman,—
And the sermon is never long;
So instead of getting to heaven at last,
I ’m going all along!
Pagan poetry: there's none better.

Jennifer Hecht, herself a pagan poet of the first rank, has lots to say about Emily and many others in Doubt: A History. They both deserve shelf-space in the Essential Freethought Library.

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