Our mother taught us to be nice, polite.
Go to the lady’s room, send thank you notes
On time. Be kind to others, eschew anger, spite—
Wear gloves at teas, and brush and sponge our coats.
After we marked her grave, we searched, and sought
A lady’s room; that genteel, private spot.
Our haste drove us behind some trees. Uncaught,
We daughters took a whiz, far from her plot.
One Professor’s Response
Blazing in Gold and quenching in Purple
Leaping like Leopards to the Sky
Then at the feet of the old Horizon
Laying her spotted Face to die
Stooping as low as the Otter’s Window
Touching the Roof and tinting the Barn
Kissing her Bonnet to the Meadow
And the Juggler of Day is gone
— Emily Dickinson, Poem 228
What is this stuff about Leopards in blazing sky?
Leopards and Jugglers do not often mix.
Otters are windowless, safe in their burrows lie,
They are not Pooh Bears, and do not do tricks.
Ask the Astronomers just where the sunset’s at.
Say what you mean about how species meet.
Who wears the bonnet, the juggler or cat?
Explain to me just how horizons have feet.