I’ve come to believe there is always an upside to every disappointment or reversal in my life.  Call it a defense against despair, but it forces me to be optimistic.

Analyzing relationships has been a pastime since I was a child. In contrast to my chasing after things to make sense, in “The nearest Dream recedes — unrealized — ”, by Emily Dickinson, the poet analyzes loss without the formula of cause and effect. The poem gets inside the reader’s emotion, where logic has its own rules.

The nearest Dream recedes — unrealized — 

The Heaven we chase—

Like the June Bee — before the School Boy — 

Invites the Race — 

Stoops — to an easy Clover — 

Dips — evades — teazes — deploys — 

Then — to the Royal Clouds

Lifts his light Pinnace — 

Heedless of the Boy — 

Staring — bewildered — at the mocking sky — 


Homesick for steadfast Honey — 

Ah — the Bee flies not

That brews that rare variety!

We are all “the School Boy” invited by desire, “Homesick for steadfast Honey — ” of perfect marriages, jobs, financial security, you name it.  We all seem to be hardwired for the tantalizing prospect of faultless achievement, “the Royal Clouds”

If I lash out at someone over everyday irritants, or become unduly critical, it’s a sure sign I am unable to grasp the truth of this poem.  Perhaps it’s because, sadly, I have left out the “we” of our universal yearnings, “The Heaven we chase—”, thinking I am inadequate. 

If I am bogged down in fruitless self-loathing, I will not feel the joy in the poem or myself. The poem itself realizes the dream of leaving us less alone, less offended by imperfect accomplishment, tapping into what everyone knows instinctively but cannot always access on our own, that “Ah — the Bee flies not/That brews that rare variety!”


Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way