Emily Dickinson (1830–1886) lived much of her life as a recluse in the town of Amherst, Massachusetts. Many of her poems deal with Christian themes, such as the life of Christ, death and immortality. She felt isolated from the religious community around her, due to differing theological views. This separation often contributed to her uncertainties — sometimes questioning what she’d boldly pronounced elsewhere. She, like David or Job, was not afraid to question God. I see, in her calling Jesus Savior, the evidence against the secularists who would want to deny her faith.
--------“Savior! I've no one else to tell –
--------And so I trouble thee.
--------I am the one forgot thee so –
--------Dost thou remember me?...”
Because of her isolation, her spirituality is one that finds its communion in nature. The following poem, expresses a moment of contentment in that separation. Although Emily Dickinson did not name her poems, we usually refer to them by their first lines.
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –
I keep it, staying at Home –
With a Bobolink for a Chorister –
And an Orchard, for a Dome –
Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice –
I just wear my Wings –
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton – sings.
God preaches, a noted Clergyman –
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last –
I'm going, all along.
Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at: www.dsmartin.ca