Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Living In Your Shadow - A Poem and An Announcement

When I was a child, I felt disappointment that I shared a birthday with Emily Dickinson. I didn’t understand her poetry and felt she was old-fashioned. Ha! Hey, remember, I was a kid.


Last fall, I joined the Modern & Contemporary American Poetry course through Coursera, which happened to have Emily Dickinson on the syllabus.


I wound up letting the class fall by the wayside while I tended to other more pressing commitments. But not before I learned a bit more about Ms. Dickinson.


I decided I kind of like the gal. Now I see we have some things in common.


And so this was born, a poem I wrote as a joke. Even so, I kind of like it:

Photo of Woman Reading
Interpreting Emily's Poetry

 Living In Your Shadow

Sometimes I feel like Emily Dickinson’s shadow,
forbidden to flatter myself or flounce my dress, ink-
stained cheeks force isolation, denied
a paperless life, required to sit with legs
held tight, be a lady, hands designed
to shovel gritty pain from each
word, uncover gassy explosions,
reveal bulbous traits, onions I pull up from mossy
carpeting in my lived-in room.

Sometimes I feel like Emily Dickinson’s shadow,
locked inside dusty dictionary, tossing words back
and forth, Walt Whitman sitting on opposite page, pencil
behind his perceptive brow, relax, let the words come
as they may, be what they want, no ulterior
meanings, deliver them to the world.

Sometimes I feel like Emily Dickinson’s shadow,
my feet, a lamp base, my eyes the switch, hands
dangling down, tendrils of a spying plant
that reads each word, wavering in the windstorm
caused by this game of catch
with vocabulary.

Sometimes I feel like Emily Dickinson’s shadow.
And sometimes my poetry just sucks.


So did you like that last line? I guess I was a frustrated writer that day.

Another memory that stands from my childhood is the frequent occurrence of a particular career recommendation that often came up in career quizzes and astrologically-predicted career paths.

Which career? The publishing field. Yes, it was another thing I balked at. I never saw myself enjoying what I do now; running Mouse Tales Press literary magazine.

If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, you will probably know that, a day or so ago, I promised an announcement. 

Please visit the Mouse Tales Press blog to read more. (Er, uh, well, visit it soon. I still need to write that up.)

Have a nice evening!



  1. I agree with Jay. Love this piece. And your writing. Rejections just mean you've put yourself out there, which is awesome. I haven't done that in awhile. Hoping you get some good news soon!

  2. Aaww . . . thank you so much, De. Your words mean a lot. xo

  3. That last line... are you implying that, sometimes, when you're playing "catch with vocabulary", you drop the ball? ;-)

    I love your poem. To be honest, I prefer your poetry to Emily's.♥

  4. I like your poem, Linda. The last verse is great. Made me smile with the knowledge that it would have been true for Emily, too. It is true for all of us. Also like you comparison of Emily and Walt. Make me smile, too. Hey, did I say I like your poem...I really do.

  5. Oh, good one, Linda. I did enjoy this poem, for several reasons, and I understand the sentiments released in that last line. I feel that way so often that I try doubly hard not to ever think I might compare to any known poet. Then again, you never know for sure how someone will read a line and relate to it or compare it to another.

  6. What a wonderful poem Linda. I love how it evokes vivid emotions and feelings.

  7. I really like this poem, it's so good.