Good Friday to you! I am not it the mood to share a letter today and it is my website so you get a rambling on Emily Dickenson!
In recent days I have been dreaming about Emily Dickenson and I think of her in my meditations. I wrote a poem honoring her a while back and I feel that my intuition is begging me to share it. In a curious coincidence Billy Collins, read his poem Taking Off Emily Dickenson’s Clothes on his podcast a few days ago. The poem is one of my favorites, but It seems to have triggered some activists as another powerful male objectifying a person as a body to be used for sexual gain. O.K. well, possibly there is an element to that but that is really not the point. I think the poem is about eros, the power of love and sex, and that is what makes this poem dangerous. People are scared to death of love and sex because it cannot be controlled. In this time of pandemic people are greedy for control and strike out against anything in the way. I find the poem heady, powerful and at the same time humble. I think Billy Collins writes of his own subjectification not that of women in general. He becomes her servant in the erotic fantasy with Ms. Dickenson, he becomes her maid so to speak by taking off her clothes. He is making feeling the subject and the feeling is that of love of grace and beauty. He mentions a swan, the symbol of purity, devotion, and partnership. He swept away by love it is just hard to see in a world that doesn’t value love. The world is starting to get hip to equality and as a feminist I am encouraged by this, but love is the higher value and tolerance must be given to those that attempt to love wildly.
Here my own attempt to recognize Ms. Dickenson’s writing and my own desires:
A Poem For Someone Else and From Someone Else
Emily Dickenson wrote for herself I’m guessing
A private conversation
Inner voice attuned to experience
Forgetting or maybe uncaring what the poetry is
What the gift will be
One with urgency of understanding
Alone with herself
Walking in the world with confidence.
Being guided by inner music.
Seeing the forms behind the illusion
And giving gratitude
Falling to her knees in wonder
I have an urge
To write you a poem
To announce my axis of love’s reception
To be the voice of witness
To allow reality to flow between us
To map our meeting and see the play of God in three distinct acts
An ancient need for meaning and control
Taking deeply flawed and confused individuals and giving them a good ending
A story to hold on to
Stepping into light
Unconcerned with the shadows
Desperate to create meaning
An unconscious wish creates an opening
A way home
To try again
And be better.