Friday, February 1, 2008

Winter, again


There's a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons --
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes --

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us --
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are --

None may teach it -- Any --
'Tis the Seal Despair --
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air --

When it comes, the Landscape listens --
Shadows -- hold their breath --
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death --

Emily Dickinson 1861

When I tell people my favorite poet is Emily Dickinson, I often get a remark that she is too depressing. It is true that she writes about death a lot. She writes of death intellectually, questioningly, ambivalently, even tenderly, exploring the concept and inviting me to explore with her. Those poems I do not find depressing.

This one I do. It's been running through my head all day. I've had too much winter, I think. Literally and figuratively.


Wade said...

here's wishing you some warmth, glo. :)

lizardrinking said...

New avatar. This little fella likes warm climates! I like Emily Dickinson, Adrienne Rich, Stevie Smith, Raymond Carver - all that crew - give or take a century or two. And when I find the book, there's a few I want to send through.

Hope "Jesus" warmed the cockles of your heart this morning, Φ, I'm looking forward to playing again soon.

Kathy Kathy Kathy said...

I can't handle too many poems about death. I can get "a little" panicky. I skipped this one.