When Flannery O’Connor wrote her now much loved “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” sparks went off in the form of best seller lists and book orders.

When Emily Dickinson wrote “A Shady friend — for Torrid days —”, a poem about the rare experience of the right kind of companionship for the demands of a specific personal challenge, it made a similar direct hit.

A Shady friend — for Torrid days — 

Is easier to find — 

Than one of higher temperature

For Frigid — hour of mind — 


The Vane a little to the East — 

Scares Muslin souls — away — 

If Broadcloth Hearts are firmer

Than those of Organdy — 


Who is to blame? The Weaver?

Ah, the bewildering thread!

The Tapestries of Paradise

So notelessly —  are made!

When torrid, or ardent, about whatever I’m doing I am less likely to need the support of others.  Maybe it’s the lack of need that attracts others, but friends are “easier to find —”. It’s human nature, isn’t it, that fosters such cliches as “jumping on the bandwagon,” when we want to be part of a going enterprise. (Any reference to current events in the U.S. economy are purely accidental.)

If my heart has gone cold, regardless of the cause, there are few who regard my situation as something to cozy up to.  “Muslin souls” and “Organdy hearts” may be less dependable, or only seem so.  Not because one is less attractive than the other, but because they can’t help being who they are and that may mean they feel put off my tragedy or self-designed quagmire. “Broadcloth Hearts”, people of sturdier stock, may turn out to include me. 

The poem concludes with throwing up hands to say the variety of human nature cannot be woven into my life the way I might want. The Creator, “The Weaver” left no Cliff Notes about the right person to choose when I need a friend.

Finally, when I get to the place where I can see the big picture I will realize we are all among “The Tapestries of Paradise”.


Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way