After Great Pain, a Formal Feeling Comes by Emily Dickinson

After Great Pain, a Formal Feeling Comes book cover
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Text of the Poem

After great pain, a formal feeling comes—
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs
The stiff Heart questions, was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?


The Feet, mechanical, go round—
A Wooden way
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought—
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone—


This is the Hour of Lead—
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow—
First—Chill—then Stupor—then the letting go—