In Corners — till a Day
The Owner passed — identified —
And carried Me away —
And now We roam in Sovereign Woods —
And now We hunt the Doe —
And every time I speak for Him —
The Mountains straight reply —
And do I smile, such cordial light
Upon the Valley glow —
It is as a Vesuvian face
Has let its pleasure through —
And when at Night — Our good Day done —
I guard My Master's Head —
'Tis better than the Eider-Duck's
Deep Pillow — to have shared —
To foe of His — I'm deadly foe —
None stir the second time —
On whom I lay a Yellow Eye —
Or an emphatic Thumb —
Though I than He — may longer live
He longer must — than I —
For I have but the power — to kill
Without — the power to die —
For our 25th anniversary Brenda and I are staying at the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport, Oregon.
It’s a reader’s hotel. No TVs. No cell phones permitted. I suspect that even this laptop would be considered contraband.
Each room is decorated in a style of a particular author. We have stayed in Melville (slanted floor reminiscent of a ship's deck, great view!), Poe (pendulum swinging over bed, bricked up closet with a jester's tassle in mortar, stuffed raven, red and black touches throughout), Hemingway (Gulf of Mexico style white, stuffed trophies), Twain (19th century style, fireplace, balcony), Stevenson (handicap accessible room with maps of pirate coves and crutches in corner), and this time we are in the Emily Dickinson (simple 19th century furnishings).
This sweet recluse wrote beautiful poems that were not entirely appreciated until long, long after she passed away.
The poem above is one I enjoy.
If you look around the internet you might find many essays on it which posits surprising takes on it. Some argue that it is about the Civil War, or the love of a man and a woman, or of a woman and a woman.
Poetry is like that. It is like something someone might hand you, and you are suddenly unsure of how to even hold it. They might even offer you a brief explanation (“That there is a left-handed blidget.”), and you take their word for it, having never handled something like it before.
But for me, the poem above is an obvious reference to the Christian life.
First, like many of her poems, there is a clear indiciator of the spiritual element... it can be sung readily to the melody of “Amazing Grace." Go ahead... try it.
I believe our lives are without real purpose without the Creator in them. We are like a loaded gun... standing in the corner.
I love how Dickinson used punctuation, grammar, and especially capitalization.
Take a quick peek at which words are capitalized in this poem. They aren’t capitals because of the rules of English. They are capitalized because of their importance.
It just occurred to me that my habit of capitalizing the word “Him” in all my blogposts is because of a habit I may have picked up from her. I capitalize that pronoun to demonstrate how important I feel He is.
I am at His service. And in this world, God Himself has so arranged things that we, you and I, are His hands and feet. He has even decreed that His works will be done because we, you and I, pray. I am ready to “speak for Him” whenever He commands it.
I’m not going to over analyze this poem for several reasons. First, I feel I may have imposed upon you already, dear reader, in dragging you thus far into literary criticism when normally you visit just to check on how I am doing lately. But more importantly, I think poems, like most left-handed blidgets, is best understood by the person handling it, and not the person handing it.
So, back to snuggling with the wife... enjoying a little peace and quite on this weekend which marks half my life spent with someone I still dearly love.