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Featured Poem: After Great Pain, a Formal Feeling Comes by Emily Dickinson

Written by Rachael Norris, 21st June 2021

For the rest of June our weekly Featured Poem will celebrate the month of Pride. We’ve chosen poems by LGBTQ+ authors that link with the meanings associated with the different colours of the Pride flag: red for ‘life’, orange for ‘healing’, yellow for ‘sunlight’, green for ‘nature’, blue for ‘art’, violet for ‘spirit’.

Today’s choice for 'healing' is ‘After Great Pain, a Formal Feeling Comes’ by Emily Dickinson.

After Great Pain, a Formal Feeling Comes

After great pain, a formal feeling comes--

The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs--

The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,

And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round--

Of Ground, or Air, or Ought--

A Wooden way

Regardless grown,

A Quartz contentment, like a stone--

This is the Hour of Lead--

Remembered, if outlived,

As Freezing persons recollect the Snow--

First--Chill--then Stupor--then the letting go--

by Emily Dickinson

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