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“Some keep the Sabbath”

“Some keep the Sabbath” is a poem about accessing faith outside the walls of a church.The poem demonstrates Dickinson’s keen interest in both the natural world and Christianity, with a touch of her characteristic wit.

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –
I keep it, staying at Home –
With a Bobolink for a Chorister –
And an Orchard, for a Dome –

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice –
I, just wear my Wings –
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton – sings.

God preaches, a noted Clergyman –
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last –
I’m going, all along.

Fr 236

Emily Dickinson, Fr 236, The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition, ed. R.W. Franklin (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1999), 106.

Courtesy of Houghton Library, Harvard University

Poem manuscript written in script in ink on embossed stationery. Two holes are punched on the right edge of the sheet.