Emily Dickinson's Collected Poems

Part One: Life 79. I years had been from home


I years had been from home,

And now, before the door,

I dared not open, lest a face

I never saw before

Stare vacant into mine

And ask my business there.

My business, -- just a life I left,

Was such still dwelling there?

I fumbled at my nerve,

I scanned the windows near;

The silence like an ocean rolled,

And broke against my ear.

I laughed a wooden laugh

That I could fear a door,

Who danger and the dead had faced,

But never quaked before.

I fitted to the latch

My hand, with trembling care,

Lest back the awful door should spring,

And leave me standing there.

I moved my fingers off

As cautiously as glass,

And held my ears, and like a thief

Fled gasping from the house.