Cemeteries are fine destinations for gathering poetry fodder. I’m fond of cemeteries myself. To me, they are peaceful places where one can search for the connections between the people who are buried there and our own lives.
No one wrote poetry about death as well as Emily Dickinson. For National Poetry Month, here’s a nod to Dickinson with information about the house where she lived, a tour of of her grave in West Cemetery in Amherst, Massachusetts and one of her poems.
Dickinson was born and lived her entire life in Amherst, where she wrote more than 1,700 poems and lived as a recluse with a few exceptions.
Her house is now a museum, but check the hours as they are seasonal. There are actually two houses that make up the Emily Dickinson Museum. She lived at The Homestead and her brother Austin lived next door at the Evergreens with his wife and children.
The tour of the cemetery and the poem are after the jump. The tour gives you the feeling as if you are following the narrator around the grounds, and the poem alludes to how Dickinson might feel about where she is buried.
Ample Make This Bed
Ample make this bed.
Make this bed with awe;
In it wait till judgment break
Excellent and fair.
Be its mattress straight,
Be its pillow round;
Let no sunrise’ yellow noise
Interrupt this ground.
— Emily Dickinson
Even though I’ve never been to this particular graveyard, after seeing this video, I have a sense of what it might be like. I love the interactions between the person behind the camera and the person in front. The details about the grass around Dickinson’s grave compared to the rest of the cemetery offers insider info, something a person might not notice otherwise.