a rare view from Amherst

I have always been fascinated by the way Emily Dickinson — legendary for rarely traveling beyond her western Massachusetts backyard — populates her poems with so many exotic locales. And she does so with such playful abandon, as if the place-names are her own vast yet intimate toys. Here, the Alps:

Our lives are Swiss—
so still, so Cool,
till, some odd afternoon,
the Alps neglect their Curtains,
and we look farther on.

Italy stands the other side,
while, like a guard between,
the solemn Alps,
the siren Alps,
forever intervene.

— Emily Dickinson
(poem # 80)

Photo Credit: Hansueli Krapf, Creative Commons