Emily Dickinson

When I started No Such Thing As Never, I had Emily Dickinson singing in my ear. I imagined a bird, although I am not particularly fond of birds, that embodied my new appreciation of the importance of hope; and I couldn’t let go of this quote –

“”Hope” is that thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tunes without the words –
And never stops – at all”

I am still not completely sure whether the stanza is positive or painful, nor exactly how the singing without words bit goes, but the passage has become, for me, irreversibly associated with this blog.

I was looking at quotes earlier today after being sent a rather pretentious Fitzgerald (and I like Fitzgerald) quote to think about. Determined to send back something equally though provoking, I turned to Emily Dickinson who is always my first port of call. I remember the sudden clicking into place of her words as I studied English A-Level, and the coming together of sound and significance that still takes my breath away. I have not, since then, read a poet or author who comes closer to articulating my feelings. Her writing is a treasure chest in which I can always discover something I have overlooked.

Like this –

“A great Hope fell
You heard no noise
The Ruin was within”

I wanted to share this quote here because it winded me: it exactly communicated the loss of hope – and then, I think, the place that you (I) start to appreciate hope from.

Here are a few of the other quotes that knocked me sideways.

“I dwell in Possibility”. Enough said. I adamantly believe this though I sometimes forget it when I am stuck or scared. The same goes for this:“Not knowing where the Dawn will come, I open every Door”. And this: “Whenever a thing is done for the first time, it releases a little demon”.

“Till I loved I never lived” is a bittersweet and overdue lesson that I am really appreciating at the moment. It kind of goes with this, which I loved from the first time I heard it:

“My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun –
In Corners – till a Day
The Owner passed – identified –
And carried Me away -“

And this, which I still struggle to completely grasp –

“Love – is anterior to Life –
Posterior – to Death –
Initial of Creation, and
The Exponent of Earth -”

Lately I have been trying to hold onto this – “We turn not older with years, but newer every day”; and learning that “Forever is composed of nows”. Also, that: “To live is so startling, it leaves little room for other occupation”.

There are a million more acutely articulated moments, but after a weekend of exhausting living, this is where I stop.


6 responses to “Emily Dickinson

  1. “A not admitting of the wound
    Until it grew so wide
    That all my Life had entered it
    And there were troughs beside;”

    How very apt. Especially today. I must remember to read more Emily Dickinson. Thanks for sharing, Lovely


    • melissawolfe

      And I had not read that one. This is why I love Emily Dickinson. She wrote so much that I can always be amazed. Yes read lots – she captures things I didn’t know I felt!

  2. Same here – must read more Emily Dickinson. Beautiful thoughts and especially love “Hope” (that thing with feathers) – I read it as ‘even if you can’t understand it and even when it seems like nonsense that doesn’t fit, it’s always there’.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  3. Lovely, lovely, lovely. I keep Emily on my desk at home, always within reach. She’s magic. I’ve been thinking a lot about the ocean and depth of experience, of surrender, lately. About the courage to not hold back an how hard it is sometimes…

    Until we met the solid town,
    No man he seemed to know;
    And bowing with a mighty look
    At me, the sea withdrew.

  4. Lovely. Hadn’t read that either. She is magic and her depth of experience, phenomenal. I was at the sea last week for the first time in ages and it always awes me – it’s that boundary between man and nature thing or something. Always moves me. I’m really interested that you mention surrender – I hadn’t thought of that but, in relation to Emily, I think that’s a really fitting word – seems like she gives herself up to experiences – and to all experiences, even those it’s easier to avoid or talk around.

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