Two Poems by Felicia Nimue Ackerman

The Waist Is Larger than the Belt

The waist is larger than the belt–
For put them side by side–
The one the other will exceed
With ease–it cannot hide–

The foot is wider than the shoe–
For try them inch by inch–
The one the other won’t fit in–
Without a mighty pinch–

The mouth is greater than the will–
For test them both with cake–
The one the other will subdue–
As anodyne quells ache–

A Narrow Fellow in the Glass 

A narrow fellow in the glass
Is what I yearn to see–
But much I must forgo, alas
To make a slimmer me. 

No cookies, brownies, cake, or pie–
I may become unstrung.
The pleasure healthful foods supply
Is zero at the tongue.

Both poems originally appeared in The Emily Dickinson International Society Bulletin

Felicia Nimue Ackerman is a professor of philosophy at Brown University and has had about 200 poems published in a wide range of places.

Two Poems by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson, ca. 1848

Emily Dickinson very much belongs among the greatest poets of her era; however, her story is a cautionary tale for anyone who thinks poetry comes with any kind of fame or recognition. Unappreciated in her lifetime on the scale she deserved, her work is nonetheless a timeless collection of treasures which keeps her name upon the lips of even the most novice of literature aficionados. Here are two classics by Emily Dickinson.




“Hope” is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea,
Yet never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.



Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.
Not one of all the purple host
Who took the flag to-day
Can tell the definition,
So clear, of victory,
As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Break, agonized and clear.