Emily Dickinson and the Power of Books

Emily Dickinson Image

I was looking through my wonderful Norton Anthologies collection from my American Studies degree yesterday and I came across Emily Dickinson’s poem ‘There is no Frigate like a Book’. I think it perfectly sums up the power books have to give us a break from reality and transport us to countless new worlds and situations, even if we don’t have a penny to our name.

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There is no Frigate like a Book

To take us Lands away,

Nor any Coursers like a Page

Of prancing Poetry –

This Traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of Toll –

How frugal is the Chariot

That bears a Human soul.

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Books give us so much yet ask so little in return. Even if we buy rather than borrow them, the cost of purchase will be repaid countless times over every time we return to their stories. They withhold nothing from us. Their essence – the words on their pages – does not change, even as they run us through the gamut of emotions and challenge our ways of thinking and how we see ourselves in this tumultuous world. They will remain by our side as faithful companions until the end of the story, where they will leave us all the better for having given them our time.

I just love this poem. And books. Always the books.

Are any of you Dickinson fans too? Do you have a favourite poem of hers? If you do, I’d love for you to share it in the comments!

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