Poetry Day 7 – the mystery of death

For all my years studying literature, I never could understand Emily Dickinson.  I never could “get” it. But more importantly, I couldn’t hold it, live it, nor carry it – remember the words of Naomi Shehab Nye?

But I do now.  Every October when the leaves fall and the persimmon trees in my backyard bear fruit ripe for picking, I turn to Dickinson for an understanding – not comfort, not kind words.  Just an understanding.

And I’m sad that I do understand her words now.

The Bustle in a House
The Morning after Death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted upon Earth –
The Sweeping up the Heart
And putting Love away
We shall not want to use again
Until Eternity –

And this:

The last Night that She Lived
It was a Common Night
Except the Dying–this to Us
Made Nature different

We noticed smallest things–
Things overlooked before
By this great light upon our Minds
Italicized–as ’twere.


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