Friday, November 9, 2012


After Great Pain ...



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 ––
A wooden way
Of ground or air or ought.

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.

~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

3 comments:

Always On Watch said...

This is the hour of lead.

Ashen -- that's how I feel.

What is the future?

FreeThinke said...

One thing is certain about Emily, AOW, -- she understood the meaning of grief, anguish and bitter longing.

Like all genuinely artistic souls she knew and understood God better than any theologian or orthodox congregant ever has or ever could.

Fortunately, she also knew joy, and the satisfaction that comes from embracing Duty.

I hate the way modern feminist pseudo-scholars avidly attempt to portray her as an early feminist and a lesbian -- as though either of those things were significant, or had the slightest bearing on the nature and quality of her work.

~ FT

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking very seriously of "letting go," myself, Emily. The game doesn't seem worth the price of a deck of cards anymore. How could you have come to understand so much, when you lived such a circumscribed life in Amherst? You were not sophisticated, they say, but those who are don't begin to see with your depth.

Helen Highwater