Sunday, March 19, 2017


A time-worn cliche, but one without which we cannot seem to do: the heart. I reread Louise Erdich's novel Love Medicine earlier this week (ah, spring break—week of favorite books!); in the title chapter (my English Comp. II students of recent years may recall this as a short story) hearts play a significant role, although the "medicine" doesn't quite work as expected.

Emily Dickinson uses the heart as a metaphor, though of course she puts her own spin on it. Here, for example:

The mob within the heart
Police cannot suppress
The riot given at the first
Is authorized as peace

Uncertified of scene
Or signified of sound
But growing like a hurricane
In a congenial ground

One of the ways she "spins" any metaphor is to mix it. What begins with a "mob" ends here with "a hurricane," all happening within the heart. Talk about interior landscapes, interior weather! Crowds and unrest—not two of Dickinson's favorite things, and yet this poem is almost an acceptance—almost a celebration—of the press and turmoil of one's inner "mob": memories, desires, one's entire storied and peopled past. The heart as a scene of a "riot"—something unlike our usual cliche, and that much nearer truth.

1 comment:

  1. Saw dozens of just blooming bloodroot on our first day of spring hike today!