Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Her Parting Face

Frigid and sweet Her parting Face—
Frigid and fleet my Feet—
Alien and vain whatever Clime
Acrid whatever Fate.

Given to me without the Suit
Riches and Name and Realm—
Who was She to withhold from me
Penury and Home?

There are Emily Dickinson poems that feel as if they were written in a warm pantry just off the kitchen, the air fragrant with cinnamon and freshly-baked bread. Then there are poems that feel as if they were written in a room at the top of the house in the frigid and sweet hours, the hours when solitude and loneliness duke it out.

"Riches and Name and Realm"—the best description of love ever penned. Unrequited, unreturned, unregarded. The mind goes round and round, imagining the scenarios that could have inspired this poem. The mind alights on its own scene of past anger, of back-turning, of indignation. Dickinson transports us always, and the journeys are swift, and we find ourselves in midnight worlds.

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