Sunday, January 6, 2019

Emily Dickinson on death and resurrection

The feet of people walking home
With gayer sandals go --
The Crocus -- til she rises
The Vassal of the snow --
The lips at Hallelujah
Long years of practise bore
Til bye and bye these Bargemen
Walked singing on the shore.

Pearls are the Diver's farthings
Extorted from the Sea --
Pinions -- the Seraph's wagon
Pedestrian once -- as we --
Night is the morning's Canvas
Larceny -- legacy --
Death, but our rapt attention
To Immortality.

My figures fail to tell me
How far the Village lies --
Whose peasants are the Angels --
Whose Cantons dot the skies --
My Classics veil their faces --
My faith that Dark adores --
Which from its solemn abbeys
Such ressurection pours.

Personal Postscript — I take this poem from my inheritance (see previous posting), and I take note of the marginalia in that book. Three words appear with question marks: “Death? Resurrection? Skeptical?” I cannot improve now upon my friend’s jottings. I will have to think more about her words and the poet’s words. Well, I turn it over to you. What do you say in response to Emily Dickinson’s poem?


  1. "skeptical" would be my response: ED lists all the paraphernalia but leaves the question pretty much in doubt, i think... as she should, imo: i've come to see the universe and everything in it as pretty homogeneous; if life exists, then the whole thing is alive; if not, then not... but actually a lot of confusion results from language: what would we think about if it didn't exist?

    1. Thoughts without words? Like my cat who surely thinks in some way, I’m speechless. Do animals think? Do blind and deaf people think? Do infants think? Do onions think? Hmmm.

    2. good questions... but it's sort of like asking a person what they really look like when all they ever see is their reflection in a mirror rotated 180 degrees... (maybe that's not such a hot analogy... sorry)

    3. i've been noticing lately that sometimes i answer questions that aren't there... misinterpreting, actually... signs of double mentia maybe...

    4. Not to worry .... I sail on the same boat ....