Monday, June 6, 2022

Emily Dickinson*

Emily Dickinson (1830—1886) is one of America’s best-loved poets. She was never one for simple explanations, but always a questioner — observing nature and working out her understanding of scripture in the light of all she saw and heard.

She made little effort to have her poems published, or even to be read beyond those she corresponded with. Her idiosyncratic rhythms, half-rhymes, punctuation, and capitalization — as well as how tightly her poems are edited down to their barest essence — often make them difficult for readers to quickly inhabit. Perhaps it is their uniqueness, though, that has enabled her work to reach beyond the more conventional verse of her day.

She also seems to have had no concern for how others may have viewed her — including as to whether she was a Christian or not. Although often outspoken in her questionings, she was never afraid to be seen as taking them directly to the one she calls “Our Lord.”

Savior! I’ve no one else to tell

Savior! I’ve no one else to tell —
And so I trouble thee.
I am the one forgot thee so —
Dost thou remember me?
Nor, for myself, I came so far —
That were the little load —
I brought thee the imperial Heart
I had not strength to hold —
The Heart I carried in my own —
Till mine too heavy grew —
Yet — strangest — heavier since it went —
Is it too large for you?

The Test of Love — is Death

The Test of Love — is Death —
Our Lord — "so loved" — it saith —
What Largest Lover — hath
Another — doth —

If smaller Patience — be —
Through less Infinity —
If Bravo, sometimes swerve —
Through fainter Nerve —

Accept it's Most —
And overlook — the Dust —
Last — Least —
The Cross' — Request —

*This is the third Kingdom Poets post about Emily Dickinson: first post, second post.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the author of five poetry collections including Angelicus (2021, Cascade) ― a book of poems written from the point-of-view of angels. His books are available through Wipf & Stock.