She never married, left college before she completed it and lived out her life within the walls of the family home, called The Homestead. She wore nothing but white for the last twelve years of her life, following the death of her father.

She never married, left college before she completed it and lived out her life within the walls of the family home, called The Homestead. She wore nothing but white for the last twelve years of her life, following the death of her father.
For almost 20 years, she seldom left her home and often preferred to have conversations through a door rather than face to face. She never joined any church denomination but she did write poetry. During her lifetime, she wrote around 2,000 poems but no one, not even her family, knew.
Emily Dickinson departed from life on May 15, 1886 in Amherst, Massachusetts at the age of 55 from kidney disease. As she had requested, her casket was carried through a field of buttercup flowers before she was laid to rest.  To most, she was a shy, reclusive woman but those closest said she could be both funny and impish.
No one knew about the poems she wrote but over her lifetime, Dickinson transcribed her view of the world into poetry.
After her death, her sister discovered Dickinson's poems and they were originally published in 1890.
The first complete compilation, The Poems of Emily Dickinson, was published in 1912.
Her lyrical poetry about the everyday things in life, the things she knew found an audience from the first. She wrote about nature, religion, music, commerce, medicine, fashion and domestic things. Dickinson wrote about death and love and the wonder of the natural world. Some poems are humorous while others reflect sadness.
In her poems, she touched a common chord, expressing what others felt but lacked the words to describe.
And, through her poetry, unknown during her lifetime, Emily Dickinson went from a quiet recluse that some local folks found odd to one of the most renown American poets of any era.
Her poetry lives today, as vibrant and heartfelt as it was in the 19th century.
The world may have changed in more than a century but human emotion is eternal.
The Homestead, where Dickinson was born, lived out her life, and died, is now a museum as is The Evergreens, the house next door, which was built for Dickinson's brother and his bride.
Her poems appear to be simple but sometimes they're not.
I always liked these lines, "“Hope” is the thing with feathers -That perches in the soul -And sings the tune without the words -And never stops - at all." Or how about this, "Parting is all we know of heaven, And all we need of hell." Those few words speak volumes.
I know poetry isn't for everyone and each of us have our favorites, whether it's poems or songs or books or food but I like Emily Dickinson. Although I'm far from a recluse, I think she had a writer's mind and eye, something I share. So in her view, I can sometimes glimpse a reflection of my view.
I'm not sure what poems she wrote in what year although I've read she was most prolific in the 1850's and 1860's. As she aged, perhaps her inspirations dwindled or as she became more of a shut in, she had less to say.
I've read that 1867 was the year when she began keeping more at home and to herself.  When her father died in 1874, she did not leave the house to attend his funeral. Whether or not there was a catalyst that led to her withdrawing from the world has often been speculated but is unknown.
Whether she wrote these lines years earlier or near the end of her life is also a mystery at least to me but they are poignant and yet prosaic about death.
'Because I could not stop for Death - He kindly stopped for me - The Carriage held but just
ourselves- And immortality".  Through her poetry, published after her death, Emily Dickinson, whether she ever intended it or not, did achieve literary immortality.
Her poems continue to live and resonate forever.







Lee Ann Murphy is a staff writer and writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.