Sunday morning with Emily

One of my favorite poets is Emily Dickinson and this my favorite poem of hers.

After great pain, a formal feeling comes–
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs–
The stiff heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round–
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought–
A Wooden way
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone–

This is the Hour of Lead–
Remembered if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow–
First–Chill–then Stupor–then the letting go–

To me, the poem communicates the ultimate spirituality. Despite the bleakness, despair, and despondency of what she writes, the poet discovers the beauty in the way we survive something terrible in our lives.

For the atheist, this poem replaces the spirituality others seek through knowing god. Whether the atheist’s basic proposition is true or not, the atheist may own as much spirituality as his religious neighbor. The mysteries of the universe and love unite us all in a common bond if we care to acknowledge it.

During her Civil War period, she produced as much good poetry as anyone whoever lived. I am amazed as I glance at the dates in her collected poems as too how much. Her mind is wild and on fire each day. The poems must have cost her a lot. I cannot imagine the emotional intensity not taking its toll on her. Yet she pushed her project through, never suspecting it would become one of the world’s most priceless possessions.

This Sunday morning I wish she could hear me and see me from beyond the grave. My vanity, I suppose. All the same, thank you, Emily. I love you.

Published in: on March 2, 2008 at 10:45 am  Leave a Comment  

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