’Tis whiter than an Indian Pipe –


Emily Dickinson’s favorite flower was the ghostly Indian pipe, also known as the corpse plant. She drafted this poem on a fragment of ruled stationery paper in 1879; no other copy exists. 


'Tis whiter than an Indian Pipe –
'Tis dimmer than a Lace –
No stature has it, like a Fog
When you approach the place –
Not any voice imply it here –
Or intimate it there –
A spirit – how doth it accost –
What function hath the Air?
This limitless Hyperbole
Each one of us shall be –
'Tis Drama – if Hypothesis
It be not Tragedy –

’Tis whiter than an Indian Pipe –
Poem, ca. 1879
Amherst College Archives & Special Collections