It was not death, for I stood up (510)

Original Text: 
The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson, edited by R. W. Franklin in volumes (Cambridge, Mass., and London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1981; PS 1541 A1 1981 ROBA): I, 367-68 (fascicle 17).
1It was not death, for I stood up,
2And all the dead lie down.
3It was not night, for all the bells
4Put out their tongues for noon.
5It was not frost, for on my flesh
7Nor fire, for just my marble feet
9And yet it tasted like them all,
10The figures I have seen
11Set orderly for burial
12Reminded me of mine,
13As if my life were shaven
14And fitted to a frame
15And could not breathe without a key,
16And 'twas like midnight, some,
17When everything that ticked has stopped
18And space stares all around,
19Or grisly frosts, first autumn morns,
20Repeal the beating ground;
21But most like chaos, stopless, cool,
23Or even a report of land
24To justify despair.


6] siroccos: hot moist winds, as those from the Libyan desert blowing across the Mediterranean towards Italy Back to Line
8] chancel: part of a church holding the altar and the choir Back to Line
22] spar: a strong pole or mast Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1997.