I guess there are two kinds of people.  

First, those who trust their instincts, “if I don’t feel right about something I won’t do it”.  Then, those who are suspicious of desire can find an argument in Emily Dickinson’s poem, “Is Bliss then, such Abyss — ”. 

I remember the first time the idea of regarding my sense of right and wrong broke through. I was well along in life, married with children. A girlfriend spoke of her mother, who had recently died. Lyn said she felt her mother with her as long as she, Lyn, was true to herself. “I must not put my foot amiss/For fear I spoil my shoe?” The poem’s use of the idea of shopping for shoes is fun: boots, or shoes, that aren’t comfortable can wreck whatever else is happening if I insist on wearing them.

My friend knew it was better to suit herself, I’d rather suit my foot”, if she intended life to unfold well. My parents and I were not so lucky.  Self confidence got lost in translation. Sin was interpreted as anything pleasurable and expanded as a warning to suspect feelings.  

Is Bliss then, such Abyss — 

I must not put my foot amiss

For fear I spoil my shoe?


I’d rather suit my foot

Than save my Boot — 

For yet to buy another Pair

Is possible,

At any store — 


But Bliss, is sold just once.

The Patent lost

None buy it any more — 

Say, Foot, decide the point!

The Lady cross, or not?

Verdict for Boot!

My friend’s remark echoes the poem, but the poem goes further: “But Bliss, is sold just once”. My course in life is something I put on, like a boot, but if I disregard what feels best by the foot inside it, trouble waits.

It’s always possible to find what others expect of me: “For yet to buy another Pair/Is possible,/At any store — ”.

On the other hand, even when no one else thinks so, certain decisions can only be directed by inner passion. Follow your bliss. “Say, Foot, decide the point!”  Don’t wait for guarantees. Whatever my bliss tells me to “put on,” in the end, life will provide the verdict. 


Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way