Emily Dickinson

(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886 / Amherst / Massachusetts)

One need not be a chamber to be haunted,

One need not be a chamber to be haunted,
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.

Far safer, of a midnight meeting
External ghost,
Than an interior confronting
That whiter host.

Far safer through an Abbey gallop,
The stones achase,
Than, moonless, one's own self encounter
In lonesome place.

Ourself, behind ourself concealed,
Should startle most;
Assassin, hid in our apartment,
Be horror's least.

The prudent carries a revolver,
He bolts the door,
O'erlooking a superior spectre
More near.

Submitted: Tuesday, May 15, 2001

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Comments about this poem (One need not be a chamber to be haunted, by Emily Dickinson )

  • Freshman - 2,098 Points John Richter (10/6/2014 2:45:00 PM)

    Emily's life is a little sad to me. As a young woman she had the opportunity to travel and study at college, something most young girls of her time were not allowed. She developed many great friendships during that time, as well as an unbridled passion for poetry. After returning to her home, where she stayed the rest of her life, she kept her friendships strong by exchanging letters. As the years passed many of her distant loving friends died, leaving her feeling lonelier and lonelier. With most poets I dare not try to fit their poems into their lives, knowing a lot of it could be just artistic banter. But in this case I relent, as I'm certain Emily was treating us to a very special part of her own feelings. A midnight gallop - stone's a'chase represents the fear that might come from a runaway horse and carriage, running as fast and wildly as it can, dangerously through the cobblestone streets of a town. Many of us today can't understand this, but many a pedestrian was killed by runaway horses in congested areas back then. What is more ghastly than a ghost in front of you? One inside of you, chalked with loneliness....... I love Emily Dickinson. (Report) Reply

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