Ever get carried away with thoughts of hatred, revenge or plain disgust? Lying awake because someone is doing something to affect me in ways that remind me of how little control I have over events is a sure way to lose sleep.  There is plenty in the news today to dig at the emotions. There is cause for outrage when we hear that the poor taxpayer will be rescuing rich bankers from their mistakes. “Wars and rumors of wars” are not just in the halls of Congress but in the minds of voters who must decide which Presidential candidate is more likely to defuse both.  

Until I read the following poem by Emily Dickinson I thought of the poet as someone free from pesky interference of unwanted fantasies. Surely there were no poems to address the discomfort of going about my life only to discover in some form of disorder created by me that chaotic emotions were being acted out.

In this poem do you detect a bit of tongue-in-cheek?  Self mockery is one tactic I find here that works to knock the legs out from under my emotions when they carry me into uncomfortable realms of thought.

I had no time to Hate —


The Grave would hinder me —

And Life was not so

Ample I 

Could finish — Enmity —

Nor had I time to Love —

But since

Some Industry must be —

The little Toil of Love —

I thought

Be large enough for Me —

I find something important in the dash in the center of the last line of the first stanza, “Could finish — Enmity —”.  That particular dash creates confusion, a typical result of harboring resentment.  It causes the phrase, “And Life was not so/Ample I/Could finish” stand alone.

There’s the important question. Will I finish what life is about?  Certainly, “enmity” takes on a life of its own if entertained. Would I allow it to take over and effectively shorten the space allotted to me from cradle to grave?

Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way