Emily Dickinson's Collected Poems

Part Four: Time and Eternity 61. If anybody's friend be dead

If anybody's friend be dead,

It 's sharpest of the theme

The thinking how they walked alive,

At such and such a time.

Their costume, of a Sunday,

Some manner of the hair, --

A prank nobody knew but them,

Lost, in the sepulchre.

How warm they were on such a day:

You almost feel the date,

So short way off it seems; and now,

They 're centuries from that.

How pleased they were at what you said;

You try to touch the smile,

And dip your fingers in the frost:

When was it, can you tell,

You asked the company to tea,

Acquaintance, just a few,

And chatted close with this grand thing

That don't remember you?

Past bows and invitations,

Past interview, and vow,

Past what ourselves can estimate, --

That makes the quick of woe!