Thursday, September 24, 2020

Poetry Friday: As Imperceptibly as Grief, Emily Dickinson


Yowza, I missed two Poetry Fridays in a row! Where have I been? What have I been doing!? Let's see. Living (with caveats ... pandemic, you know), teaching, writing, baking (sans flour), prepping for the Catholic Moms' Summit, and trying to retrain my mind to really read a book. (Reading in the time of Covid ... whoosh, it's been a whole thing for me. Or rather, the lack of the thing. I have read far fewer books in the last six months than at any other time I can think of. I. Don't. Like. That.) 

Time to get back to my favorite thing to do on a Friday: share some poetry. 

And autumn is here! Autumn is here! Though we still have to deal with the torpor of a pandemic, at least the torpor of summer is folding in on itself. Yes, it's been hot here this week, but, hey, hot? Your days are numbered. 


"What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon?" cried Daisy, "and the day after that, and the next thirty years?" 

 "Don't be morbid," Jordan said. "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." 

 ~~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I don't think another Poetry Friday should pass without my sharing this one from Emily Dickinson. I've loved it for forty years. Or something like that. (The years tend to lapse away, imperceptibly, and it's hard to keep track anymore.) 


As imperceptibly as grief 

by Emily Dickinson 

As imperceptibly as grief
The summer lapsed away, —
Too imperceptible, at last,
To seem like perfidy.

A quietness distilled,
As twilight long begun,
Or Nature, spending with herself
Sequestered afternoon.

The dusk drew earlier in,
The morning foreign shone, —
A courteous, yet harrowing grace,
As guest who would be gone.

And thus, without a wing,
Or service of a keel,
Our summer made her light escape
Into the beautiful.

~~~~~~~~~~

8 comments:

Linda B said...

I wrote about autumn today, too, Karen. Yes, it is the strangest time. I have continued reading, probably because I am reviewing some, but the distractions mean I jump from book to book. . . I love the Fitzgerald quote, & Emily always says it right, that 'light escape". Thanks!

penelope said...

Well, when is Emily *not* perfect, am I right? However, and be that as it may, what a perfectly perfect poem for today. Thank you my dear!

Ruth said...

Of course I've read this poem many times, but it feels like I haven't read it before. It really is perfect for now.

I hate reading slumps. I had a long one after the earthquake (THE earthquake as though there's just been one), when I just couldn't focus at all. I had one when the pandemic started. But I'm plugging along now with reading. I wish a quick end to your slump, because books are a key right now for me to feeling OK with the world!

tanita✿davis said...

A courteous, yet harrowing grace is just... one of those exquisite phrases which deserves to be much considered. Thank you for this glorious poem today. And good luck with all of your autumnal busyness! It's catching; October is going to plunge me into it, too.

Carol Varsalona said...

Thank you for sharing the Emily Dickinson poem. I just love the last stanza:
"And thus, without a wing,
Or service of a keel,
Our summer made her light escape
Into the beautiful."
Right now the weather here is beautiful...

Mary Lee said...

Thank you for all of this -- Fitzgerald AND Dickinson! YAY autumn!

And I'm with you on the reading. There is actual dust on my Goodreads shelves. For the first time in years I won't come anywhere close to my goal. But a dropped stitch is just an invitation to unravel a bit and start over, right?

Karen Edmisten said...

Linda, I'm glad you're still reading! I'm getting there. :)
Penelope, I'm with you on Emily always being perfect!
Ruth, yes to the power of books. I'm glad you're still reading. I think I'm getting back on track.
Tanita, I love the image of being plunged into things in October. Like Jordan Baker, I've always sprung back to life in the fall.
Carol, we've got some beautiful weather today, too. We escaped to a state park last night and it was glorious.
Mary Lee, oh, yes, the dust on the Goodreads shelves. :) I deleted my reading goal for the year because I decided it was better to feel that I'm recalibrating rather than failing. I love your dropped stitch metaphor!

Jone said...

I get it about reading and actually focusing. I love this from Dickinson. And autumn. Horray for autumn, its light, the bridge between summer and winter.