Saturday, March 15, 2008

Theme poem of my last week

The incomparable Emily Dickinson often strikes a chord that is perfectly in tune with my present mental and/or emotional whereabouts. Sometimes more so, as her verse deepens and refines a mental or emotional state, and gently steeres me into another landscape; wider, deeper, sharper and more vivid in colouring. She's been everywhere, she's seen it all, she's spelled it all.

She is a poet that never stops astonishing me with her imagery and her conceptual sharpness, innovativeness and elegant, poetic grandeur. There is nothing that can't be enveloped in that mind of hers and no new world or even universe of dimension that she can't unfold from the nooks of her imagination.

The following poem - one of her more famous, I am sure - is as good a witness of my sense of gloom, heaviness and depression as anything I have come across in literature. This landscape is familiar, though not the underlying tone of my life.

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading — treading — till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through —

And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum —
Kept beating — beating — till I thought
My Mind was going numb —

And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space — began to toll,

As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race
Wrecked, solitary, here —

And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down —
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing — then —

- Emily Dickinson

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