07 Jan 2020
Day 2. Today’s poem of the day is Nature xxx.
The wind tapped like a tired man,
And like a host, “Come in,”
I boldly answered; entered then
My residence within
A rapid, footless guest,
To offer whom a chair
Were an impossible as hand
A sofa to the air.
No bone he had to bind him,
His speech was like the push
Of numerous humming-birds at once
From a superior bush.
His countenance a billow,
His fingers, if he pass,
Let go a music, as of tunes
Blown tremulous in glass.
He visited, still flitting;
Then, like a timid man,
Again he tapped—‘t was flurriedly—
And I became alone.
I like this one because it’s about the weather.
06 Jan 2020
Day 1. Today’s poem of the day is Life cxxiv.
Remembrance has a rear and a front,—
‘T is something like a house;
It has a garret also
For refuse and the mouse,
Besides, the deepest cellar
That ever mason hewed;
Look to it, by its fathoms
Ourselves be not pursued.
06 Jan 2020
A long time ago, I found a copy of poems by
Emily Dickinson while
walking on the streets of Cambridge.
I first met Emily during the poetry section of my ninth grade English class. My
English teacher, Phyllis Tanner, introduced the two of us. Emily was everything I
wanted to be: smart and insightful and strong and delicate and beautiful and
spiritual and natural. In a word, she was so New England. Since we were both
from Massachusetts, I thought maybe I had a shot to be like her, too.
Then the tenth grade came, and we stopped seeing each other.
I never got to know Emily all that well. Ms. Tanner had us meet a lot of poets that year.
So it was a welcomed surprise to meet her again on the street. I took her home
and put her on my bookshelf, determined to read each of her poems, one a day.
The next morning came, though, and we stopped seeing each other. Again.
Five years ago I signed the deed to my current home. And now I have decided finally
to move in properly. Paint the walls. Hang up the art. Buy some rugs. Buy a couch.
But first things first. I needed to take down the Murphy bed that dominated the
living, bedroom, office, and fitness space of my studio condominium and along with
its large, built-in bookshelves before I could replace them with some more
thoughtful and space-economic furniture.
During the demolition I ran into Emily again, who had been hidden on one of the
shelves. She was patient, graceful as always. This time I cracked open the
spine and read the introduction by Martha, Emily’s niece.
Reading Martha’s words was like stepping back into Ms. Tanner’s class.
[Emily] was of the part of life that is always youth, always magical.
She wrote of it as she grew to know it, step by step, discovery by discovery,
truth by truth—until time merely became eternity. She was preëminently the
discoverer—eagerly hunting the meaning of it all; this strange world in
which she wonderingly found herself,—“A Balboa of house and
garden,” surmising what lay beyond the purple horizon. She lived with a
God we do not believe in, and trusted in an immortality we do not deserve, in
that confiding age with Duty ruled over Pleasure before the Puritan became a
Emily experienced the world fresh; she could read the magic of its existence. I
want see what she sees. Believing that practice makes perfect, I’m going to
follow my mentor and each day post a poem of the day (POTD) until I’ve run out
of Emily. That gives us at least 593 days together, starting today.