Today I’m going to bypass the temptation to write about America as a little boat tossed in a riotous river of history, human folly and a myriad of mysterious financial forces. My poem-thoughts on Sundays go to children.

Adrift! A little boat adrift!

And night is coming down!

Will no one guide a little boat

Unto the nearest town?

 

So sailors say — on yesterday — 

Just as the dusk was brown

One little boat gave up its strife

And gurgled down and down.

 

So angels say — on yesterday — 

Just as the dawn was red

One little boat — o’erspent with gales — 

Retrimmed its masts —  redecked its sails — 

And shot — exultant on!

Exquisite thinking. Simple writing. Challenging reading. 

Aside from the challenging reading in this story-poem by Emily Dickinson, there’s more to remind me of youngsters who like to play with toy boats in the bathtub or a puddle created by rain like what is now soaking New England.

Yesterday at the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts, it rained all day while approximately 600 adults and children came for an outdoor event.  It was the fifth anniversary of the museum, made up of the poet’s home and of her brother Austin’s family, next door.  The marathon reading of all 1,789 poems by Dickinson “gurgled down and down” from shortly after dawn ‘til near midnight.

Children were disappointed that the rain prevented a scavenger hunt that had been promised them. Bravely, each child “Retrimmed its masts —  redecked its sails — /And shot — exultant on!” as they were left to gorge on ice cream, cake and lemonade.

Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way

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