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“There’s a certain slant of light” is my favorite Emily Dickinson poem. It’s the kind of poem I’ve read over and over until I’ve etched every word into my memory.

Sometimes I’m able to close the curtains before the light slants. Sometimes I’m not.

Certain Slant of Light

There’s a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons –
That oppresses, like the Heft

Of Cathedral Tunes –

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –
We can find no scar,
But internal difference –

Where the Meanings, are –

None may teach it – Any –
‘Tis the seal Despair –
An imperial affliction

Sent us of the Air –

When it comes, the Landscape listens –
Shadows – hold their breath –
When it goes, ’tis like the Distance
On the look of Death –
Certain Slant of Light (3)

poem © 1999 Harvard University Press