One of my favorites poets ever is Emily Dickenson. I’m not sure why she was considered so ‘dark’. She wrote beautifully of a complicated world. She spent some time writing about the fear instilled in everyone about hell and her own fear of eternal life or, at times, her longing for it. Maybe it was this common curiosity about living forever that drew me to her. Much like the beauty Vincent VanGogh found in the Starry Night or Sun Flowers, she seemed to see beauty in everyday things. The poem that shows this best and I love the most, is about the color yellow in nature. Seriously.
Nature rarer uses yellow
Than another hue;
Saves she all of that for sunsets,–
Prodigal of blue,
Spending scarlet like a woman,
Yellow she affords
Only scantly and selectly,
Like a lover’s words.
Ignoring the sexism in the spending phrase, this is one of the most succinct explanations of what makes this simple color so extraordinary. It also has sensual notes, bittersweet longing, economy and a list of the primary colors. It is simple and complex at the same time-everything art should be! This is by far one of the most amazing poems I’ve ever read.
The other part about her work I love is her skepticism, even about her own skepticism. She did not seem to take anything for granite. While she did spend a great deal of time writing about death and the ‘after life’ that does not make her work dark or negative. Many of us think about these things on a regular basis, she happened to have the skill to write poetry about it.
The other reason for me sharing this blog is to encourage the reading of poetry which too often seems to be forgotten. For me art is a time capsule and interpretation brought together to help us better understand our past and present. I will close with another poem that is fun to contemplate, especially for us freethinkers that are not fans of ‘the after life’ (sorry Prince, I haven’t gone that crazy yet)
I never felt at Home-Below–
And in the Handsome Skies
I shall not feel at Home-I know-
I don’t like Paradise-Because it’s Sunday-all the time-
And Recess-never comes-
And Eden’ll be so lonesome
Bright Wednesday Afternoons-If God could make a visit-
Or ever took a Nap-
So not to see us-but they say
Himself-a Telescope Perennial beholds us-
Myself would run away
From Him-and Holy Ghost-and All-
But there’s the “Judgement Day”!