Thursday, July 31, 2008

Emily and Me in New York

I wonder sometimes at the call
Miss Dickinson derived
from every atom in the hall
of living – which she strived

to blast into a blinding frame
of flame – expunging breath –
so for an instant she could name
that moment before death

which we call life: predicament! –
or so it sometimes seems
that her sole cool medicament
for dealing with all dreams

proceeded from a cracking egg
that no one else could eat
or see, or think to ask or beg
to explicate the heat

of human hearts – that Emily
prevailed in any way
through metaphor and simile
to undergo the sway

to-wards the darkness and the gold
of turning on the light
on everything, not least the cold
experience of night

exhorts me: what would I have done
had there not been this city? –
there is no place I could have gone
as ample or as gritty –

it is as if Miss Dickinson
had taken over here –
deployed a magic trick, or sin –
thereby to commandeer

each atom for me of this grand
experience of place
so she could wield her wild hand
to grant it fathomed grace.


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