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“Fame is a fickle food”

As she became more reclusive, the poet ultimately gave up her place at Susan’s table. In her absence, Susan allegedly shared Dickinson’s words with her guests, reading aloud from the hundreds of poems Dickinson sent her. This is Susan Dickinson’s transcription of her sister-in-law’s undated poem.

Fame is a fickle food
Upon a shifting plate
Whose table once a
Guest but not
The second time is set
Whose crumbs the crows inspect
And with ironic caw
Flap past it to the
Farmer’s corn
Men eat of it and die

“Fame Is a Fickle Food | Dickinson Electronic Archives, ”

Poem transcription in ink on yellowed paper with a penciled asterisk and letter C in the upper right corner.