Thursday, April 5, 2018

E is for Emily Dickinson: Dwelling in Possibility

It's April! Time for the AtoZ Blogging Challenge!

For those who haven't played along before, the AtoZ Blogging Challenge asks bloggers to post every day during April (excepting Sundays), which works out to 26 days, one for each letter of the alphabet. In my opinion, it's the most fun if you choose a theme.

This will be my 5th year participating.
My theme this year is Poets I Love all about some of the poets whose work has touched me over the years.

For my regular readers, you'll see more than the usual once-a-week posts from me this month. I'm having a great time writing them, so I hope you enjoy reading them, too. Be sure to check out some of the other bloggers stretching their limits this month to share their passions with you, too. With over 400 participants, there is bound to be something you'd love to read.

Emily Dickinson was the first poet I fell in love with, way back in first grade ("There is a solitude of space"). I turn to her again and again in my life when I need something thoughtful, challenging, and a bit odd. She speaks my heart more accurately and often than anyone else I read. (side note: if you're also a fan you should check out the White Heat project, exploring her work in historical context. I wrote a response for them recently)

Listing the poems of her that *don't* speak to me would be shorter than listing my favorites, but here's one I come back to again and again: "I dwell in possibility."

That opening line is gorgeous. A girl could go her life and never write anything that perfect. Dwell is perfect. Not live, not exist, but dwell with that combination of both “to live somewhere” and “to linger” or “to think about.”

Then picking up from possibility into windows. Quel metaphor! Possibility is all about seeing openings, views, horizons. Much better done through windows than doors.

And possibility becomes an actual house, a home. Cedars for rooms, guaranteeing privacy. Gambrels of the sky …a word that sent me to a the dictionary: “a roof with two sides, each of which has a shallower slope above a steeper one.” The sloping sky as a roof, nothing to block the view of possibility. Her visitors are “the fairest” which I read as people who also value openness.

That last line goes straight to the heart again. Emily, with her narrow hands-she was such a physically small woman-nonetheless reaching out to the wide world to bring in all that might mean paradise to her.


  1. I must admit the only poetry I have really ever read was those placed in front of us at school and we didn't do Emily Dickinson. Such beautiful words.
    Tasha's Thinkings - Movie Monsters

  2. She really was a quite a woman. Yes her poems are hard not to return to.