"Publication - is the auction of the Mind of Man.
Meaning always comes after the fact ...
Only now when Death has taken me
does the meaning of my life and dreams
whisper to me.
I am the ghost of Emily Dickinson.
That fabulous scamp of a gentlemen, Samuel Clemens,
asked me to write in this "computer newspaper," as he calls it.
The dear somehow knew this date was important to me.
“Success is counted sweetest” was published anonymously in an anthology titled
A Masque of Poets on this day in 1878,
the last of the handful of my poems published in my lifetime.
Though I remained firm in my decision that “My Barefoot-Rank is better,”
this poem does reflect my continued mixed feelings about publishing:
Success is counted sweetest By those who ne'er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar Requires sorest need.
Not one of all the purple host Who took the flag to-day
Can tell the definition, So clear, of victory!
As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Burst agonized and clear!
I wonder, struggling souls, what would it mean to you if you were never published,
your novels never valued?
To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie -
True Poems flee.
How long would you continue to write should publication elude you?
Are the words burning within you to find life on the page?
For me, I never stopped writing:
HOPE is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
Will you stop writing if the years pass, leaving you unpublished?
And if you would continue, why?
This tender spirit would like to know.
Just walk out into the sable night, look up into the listening stars, and whisper your answer to the wayfaring winds.
I am a ghost. I shall hear.