Day in History 15 May – Emily Dickinson – June Carter Cash

On this day in 1886, renowned poet, Emily Dickinson died at her home in Amherst, Massachusetts at the age of 55.  Born Emily Elizabeth Dickinson on 10 December 1830 in Amherst.  She led a mostly introverted and reclusive life and never married.  Fewer than a dozen of her poems were published during her lifetime.  Those that were, were usually heavily edited to fit the conventional poetic rules of the time.  Dickinson’s poems were unique for that era as they featured short lines, no titles, slant rhyme and unconventional capitalization and punctuation.  After Dickinson’s death, her sister Lavinia, kept her promise and burned most of the poet’s correspondence.  Fortunatley though, Dickinson had left no instructions about the forty notebooks and loose sheets gathered in a locked chest.  The notebooks and loose sheets contained almost 1800 poems.  Lavinia recognized the poems’ worth and decided they must be published.  Today Dickinson is considered one of the most important poets and an important part of American culture.  One of my favorite poets.  Lately, my own poetry has been influenced by Dickinson.  Here is her poem Wild Nights – Wild Nights! (249);

Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
 Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury
Futile – the winds –
To a heart in port –
Done with the compass –
Done with the chart!
Rowing in Eden –
Ah, the sea!
Might I moor – Tonight –
In thee!


The Final Footprint – Dickinson is interred in the Dickinseon family private estate in West Cemetery in Amherst.  Her grave is marked by an upright stone marker. She requested Emily Brontë’s “No Coward Soul is Mine” be read at her funeral.

No Coward Soul Is Mine (1846)

  • No coward soul is mine,
    No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere:
    I see Heaven’s glories shine,
    And Faith shines equal, arming me from Fear.

    O God within my breast,
    Almighty, ever-present Deity!
    Life — that in me has rest,
    As I — undying Life — have power in Thee!

    Vain are the thousand creeds
    That move men’s hearts: unutterably vain
    Worthless as withered weeds,
    Or idlest froth amid the boundless main…

  • With wide-embracing love
    Thy Spirit animates eternal years
    Pervades and broods above,
    Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.

    Though earth and moon were gone,
    And suns and universes ceased to be,
    And Thou wert left alone,
    Every existence would exist in Thee.

    There is not room for Death,
    Nor atom that his might could render void:
    Thou — Thou art Being and Breath,
    And what Thou art may never be destroyed.

th-8On this day in 2003, singer, dancer, songwriter, actress, comedian, author, member of the Carter Family and wife of Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash died in Nashville of complications following heart-valve replacement surgery, in the company of her family at the age of 73.  Born Valerie June Carter in Maces Spring, Virginia, to Maybelle Carter and Ezra Carter.  She played the guitar, banjo, harmonica, and autoharp, and acted in several films and television shows.  Of course my favorite song that she wrote is “Ring of Fire”.  Carter won five Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2009.  Carter was married three times: Carl Smith (1952-1956); Edwin “Rip” Nix (1957-1966); then in 1968, Cash proposed to Carter during a live performance at the London Ice House in London, Ontario, Canada.  th-9They married on 1 March in Franklin, Kentucky, and remained married until her death, just four months before Cash died.  The Final Footprint – Johnny and June are buried together in Hendersonville Memory Gardens near their home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Other notable final footprints at Hendersonville Memory Gardens include:

  • Max Barnes (1936–2004), songwriter
  • “Mother” Maybelle Carter (1909–1978), musician, songwriter
  • Helen Carter (1927–1998), country singer and daughter of Maybelle Carter
  • Anita Carter (1933–1999), singer-musician and daughter of Maybelle Carter
  • Rosie Nix Adams (1958–2003), singer-songwriter and daughter of June Carter Cash
  • Ferlin Husky (1925–2011), country music singer
  • Merle Kilgore (1934–2005), country music singer-songwriter
  • Joe Maphis (1921–1986), country music master guitarist
  • Luther Perkins (1928–1968), country music guitarist for Johnny Cash
  • Sheb Wooley (1921–2003), actor and singer-songwriter

Have you planned yours yet?

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