There is much going on in the world to take my mind off threats of my own making.

Feeling today like a pushover because I’d rather “let it go” than insist on top performance by some people I’ve paid to do work for me, I’ve got to remember if I don’t stand my ground, the results are partly mine to blame.

A poem by Emily Dickinson which is a reminder of my tendency to look externally for the cause when I am troubled, also reminds me of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a perennial Halloween favorite.

As the encroachment of goblins and witches approaches, alongside the specter of national and world events, it’s comforting, in a haunted way, to look for a weapon against those in power, politically and in banking. Or, so the poem suggests:

One need not be a Chamber — to be Haunted — 

One need not be a House — 

The Brain has Corridors —  surpassing

Material Place — 


Far safer, of a midnight meeting

External Ghost

Than its interior confronting — 

That cooler Host


Far safer, through an Abbey gallop,

The Stone’s a’chase — 

Than unarmed, one’s a’self encounter — 

In lonesome Place — 


Ourself behind ourself, concealed — 

Should startle most — 

Assassin hid in our Apartment

Be Horror’s least — 


The body — borrows a Revolver — 

He bolts the Door — 

O’erlooking a superior spectre — 

Or More — 

In the first stanza, my brain, more than a “Material Place visited by apparitions, “has Corridors” which are susceptible “to be Haunted — ”. When compared with being “unarmed”, when “one’s a’self encounter”, the second, third and fourth stanzas reiterate the relative safety of “midnight meeting(s)”, or being chased through an abbey on horseback, or, even of an assassin waiting in my bedroom!

The poem leaves out the important definition of what it is to be “armed” against one’s subconscious (“Ourself behind ourself, concealed —”) struggles, “interior confronting —”.

The only hint, in the final stanza, is the requirement to put body to work, use the powers of solitude, and look, “Or More —.


Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way