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Steve Likes to Curse
Writing, comics and random thoughts from really a rather vulgar man
Emily Dickinson out-Thomas-Paines Thomas Paine 
Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 | 04:17 pm [college, literature, religion, science]

See, it’s shit like this that makes me glad I’m in college, even if it took me fucking forever to get here. This morning in Dr. Hanrahan’s class we went over a few poems by Emily Dickinson (who was apparently a writer of some note in the 19th century — maybe you’ve heard of her), and I belatedly discovered this little gem, which instantly leapfrogged all those dirty nursery rhymes Andrew Dice Clay used to recite to become one of my favorite poems — evah.


Check it out, in case it’s new to you, too. The number is from the 1955 Thomas Johnson edition of The Poems of Emily Dickinson.




“Faith” is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see —
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.


Emily, I owe you a high-five for that one. Where’s your ass buried, anyway? Wikipedia says the family plot at West Cemetery on Triangle Street in Amherst. I want to dig you up and high-five your bones.


Oh, but that’s not all. This next one is a jaw-dropper, too. It’s as if she was sitting around a hundred and fifty years ago, gazing out the window when suddenly she thought: “Someday this guy named Steve is gonna read my ‘“Faith” is a fine invention’ poem and think it’s the shit — now watch me blow that motherfucker’s mind.” Then she put pen to paper and wrote this:




The Bible is an antique Volume —
Written by faded men
At the suggestion of Holy Spectres —
Subjects — Bethlehem —
Eden — the ancient Homestead —
Satan — the Brigadier —
Judas — the Great Defaulter —
David — the Troubador —
Sin — a distinguished Precipice
Others must resist —
Boys that “believe” are very lonesome —
Other Boys are “lost” —
Had but the Tale a warbling Teller —
All the Boys would come —
Orpheus’ Sermon captivated —
It did not condemn —


One of my favorite books ever is Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason. It’s way out front, pretty much the most brilliant thing I’ve ever read. So imagine my shock and delight to see the essence of that great work distilled so perfectly into sixteen lines.


Why the fuck didn’t we elect this woman president? Could she really have done much worse than Ulysses Grant?

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