Thursday, May 6, 2010
Sometimes considered an enigma herself, Emily Dickenson gives us a spiritual biography in her poetry.
In her deliberate exfoliation of the quotidian, she grazes the kernel of the unseen. At once personal and universal, brooding and ecstatic, her poems are the product and practice of a lifetime act of love. "My business is to love," she explains. "My business is to sing."
Upon her death, Emily Dickinson's family discovered 40 handbound volumes of nearly 1800 of her poems, or "fascicles" as they are sometimes called. These booklets were made by folding and sewing five or six sheets of stationery paper and copying what seem to be final versions of poems in an order that many critics believe to be more than chronological. The handwritten poems show a variety of dash-like marks of various sizes and directions --some are even vertical!
Here is one I have chosen for this week’s OSI prompt, enigma:
I found the phrase to every thought
I ever had, but one;
And that defies me,--as a hand
Did try to chalk the sun
To races nurtured in the dark;--
How would your own begin?
Can blaze be done in cochineal,
Or noon in mazarin?
And for my 100th post, and in a dry season with my writing, here's a fumbling try to chalk the sun:
Green mango love
Your avid thirst
of my knees
we are made