Emmett Lee Dickinson (Emily Dickinson’s third cousin, twice removed – at her request) celebrated Chinese New Year every year because one of the great influences on his poetry was a distant relative from Zhengzhou, China, by the name of Ana Lei D’yingunson.
D’yingunson was a poet herself, and she also wrote fortunes for fortune cookies. Dickinson said that he found D’yingunson’s fortunes to be exceptionally poetic, and some of her fortunes inspired many of his most famous poems.
Every year on Chinese New Year, Dickinson would order his favorite Chinese take-out (Triple Family Delight with fried rice, crab Rangoon, hot and sour soup, and a pork egg roll), and he would recite many of his favorite poems and fortunes by D’yingunson.
Pictured at the left: Chinese poet Ana Lei D'yingunson
Below on the right: Dickinson’s poem inspired third cousin Emily to pen her poem “Rather and Delight.”
By Emmett Lee Dickinson:
Triple Family Delight
In Contentment accrue
Makes a serious Delicacy
Oh so good as joy –
For Rapture’s Expense
Must now be incurred
With a New Year now knocking
A Chinese buffet –
By Emily Dickinson:
Rather arid delight
If Contentment accrue
Make an abstemious Ecstasy
Not so good as joy –
But Rapture's Expense
Must not be incurred
With a tomorrow knocking
And the Rent unpaid –
Below: Some of the top fortunes written by Chinese poet Ana Lei D'yingunson:
* Because death will kindly stop for you,
you might as well order dessert.
* You will find a world some other day.
* “Hope” is the thing you hope for.
* Kung Pao chicken be not caused. It is.
* A quiet evening is the best tonic after wild nights, wild nights!