The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson (2)

Heya peeps, I got some more Dickinson for ya! Last night it was uber romantic. The light I generally use in my room is really far from my bed (by really far I just mean you have to get out of bed and walk two steps. The getting out of bed is what makes it essentially miles away), so I had the smart idea to burn candles and read poetry by candlelight. Oo lala! Nothing caught on fire, and I got to stay in bed! hurray. Anyway, onto the poems:

XXXII

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard,
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

LXII

Before I got my eye put out,
I liked as well to see
As other creatures that have eyes,
And know no other way.

But were it told to me, to-day,
That I might have the sky
For mine, I tell you that my heart
Would split, for size of me.

The meadows mine, the mountains mine,00
All forest, stintless, stars,
As much of noon as I could take
Between my finite eyes.

The motions of the dipping birds,
The lighting’s jointed road,
For mine to look at when I liked,–
The news would strike me dead!

So, safer, guess, with just my soul
Upon the window-pane
Where other creatures put their eyes,
Incautious of the sun.

Lately, I’ve been considering risks and taking them and what I constitute as a risk, and these two poems reminded me of that. Daring to hope, daring to believe, daring to do. Sometimes as an excessive reader I worry I live vicariously too much, and I get really anxious to do-do-do. But do what is the question. While reading these words I get a little anxious about doing more, they also just get me excited for today and help me to be content in regards to the future. I LOVE that part that I bolded in the second poem. I hope you enjoyed!

Happy day, Happy night, Happy week!

–> If you’re really confused as to why I’m talking about Emily Dickinson and poetry on my blog, here is the first entry explaining the methods to my madness.

The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson (1)

Guess what I’ve decided to trod my way through?

[photo from barensandnoble.com]

You guessed it! Emily Dickinson!! Wow, friends you’re getting really good at guessing ;).

My new goal is to read 10 pages a night from The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson, and a few times a week I’m going to share my favorite poems. I feel like poetry gets a bad rap (I know I sure rapped bad things about poetry in my past. Ha!) and so now that I actually like poetry, we are going to enter new emotional depths here.

This week is number VI under her Life category.

“If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease on life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”

Emily Dickinson will always, forever make me think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (you know, when Buffy starts to crush on that boy who LOVES to read Emily Dickinson? And then she pretends to like Emily Dickinson too? Well, now if you’re in a situation like Buffy, you have a starting place!). I went started reading with Buffy in mind, and it turns out my favorite poem from my 10 pages ended up making me think of Buffy a TON. How funny.

One of my favorite parts of Buffy is the dilemma between risking the lives of many to save one person versus risking the life of one person in order to save many. This carries over into The Walking Dead too, which is my newest obsession (and Gossip Girl is a current obsession too… but I can’t find the correlation. Cookies to whomever can find out how Gossip Girl relates*). Do you spend forever searching for a little girl lost in the woods? Or do you leave the girl for the safety of the rest of the group?

Anyway.

While Emily Dickinson doesn’t address the whole group vs. individuality mindset, I do love her focus on the individual. Personally, I’ve realized how much I depend upon other people and other things. Want to go to school? It’s in the hand of the school admissions. Want to buy a house? Your credit has to be approved among tons of other things. Want to publish a book through a publishing house? Hey there, literary agents, please be kind! Want a super duper tasty pumpkin spice latte? It’s all up to your local, friendly barista!

Maybe we don’t have a lot of control over our life, and maybe we depend on soo many people for big and little things alike, but we do have control on what we can do in during the day and with our lives. I love how Emily Dickinson is so focused on the small things. You don’t have to completely overturn terrible things and swoop in and save the day for entire groups of people. That person you pass by in the hall every day? Matters. That boy that annoys the heck out of you and you kind of sort of want to yell at him to be quiet, like, ALL.THE.TIME. Matters. That girl who seems to have everything together and doesn’t need any more support from anyone else (ie- you)? Matters. Moment by moment, person by person, good things can happen. Individual people (and animals) matter too!

Bam. Look at all the emotional depth that Emily Dickinson brings to life. Who knows if next time I’ll go on a long spiel or if I just post the poem and run away. I guess we’ll see!

*By cookies I mean pretend cookies.