Poets and Old Age: Emily Dickinson

One of our best poets about growing older and about death was Emily Dickinson. And the best known of all her poems about the subject was this one.

The Chariot

Because I could not stop for Death,

He kindly stopped for me;

The carriage held but just ourselves

And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,

And I had put away

My labor, and my leisure too,

For his civility.

We passed the school where children played,

Their lessons scarcely done;

We passed the fields of gazing grain,

We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed

A swelling of the ground;

The roof was scarcely visible,

The cornice but a mound.

Since then ‘tis centuries; but each

Feels shorter than the day

I first surmised the horses’ heads

Were toward eternity.


Here’s another less familiar one.

We turn not older with years, but newer every day.

These words they sing

Of hope

Of joy

These words leave me to


Within my mind

Within my heart

Within my newer day

My newest day

Sparkling bright

Washing cares away

My newest day

Born afresh

Born afresh…


Giving me

Once again

The chance to Seek

And pray

Giving me

The chance

To thank

The One who gives this day


My newness…

Startling me

Though mirrors are away…

As in my mind

Once again

Life’s magic has its way

Has its way

Comforts me

Walks hand in hand with age

Walking towards that Promised Land…

Where newness wins the day!

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4 comments on “Poets and Old Age: Emily Dickinson
  1. I posted her poem The Chariot on my blog as well. I really love this poem. Lovely post

  2. Curious Dickinson Fan says:

    I do not find this second poem in the available collected works of Dickinson. Can you please cite the source, perhaps publication or publisher?

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