Verse > Emily Dickinson > Complete Poems > I. Life > 109. “The farthest thunder that I heard”

Emily Dickinson (1830–86).  Complete Poems.  1924.

Part One: Life


THE FARTHEST thunder that I heard
  Was nearer than the sky,
And rumbles still, though torrid noons
  Have lain their missiles by.
The lightning that preceded it        5
  Struck no one but myself,
But I would not exchange the bolt
  For all the rest of life.
Indebtedness to oxygen
  The chemist may repay,        10
But not the obligation
  To electricity.
It founds the homes and decks the days,
  And every clamor bright
Is but the gleam concomitant        15
  Of that waylaying light.
The thought is quiet as a flake,—
  A crash without a sound;
How life’s reverberation
  Its explanation found!   20


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