I feel doomed.  Often in conversations, just as here, I think of a 150-year-old poem and its relevance to something in the present. I have to rein myself in. It is painful to see the look in someone’s eyes go from engagement in the conversation to glassy-eyed drifting. And I’ve just gotten started!  

I know sometimes I risk diminishing the wealth of words when, tongue in cheek, I rely on a poem like the following by Emily Dickinson to help make my point. But, the larger truth — that I find creative power when my life is too full of pain, too mundane, too confusing, or just plain hard — is sustained when such diminishment acts on my own self-importance:

Put up my lute!

What of — my Music!

Since the sole ear I cared to charm — 

Passive — as Granite — laps my music — 

Sobbing — will suit — as well as psalm!


Would but the “Memnon” of the Desert — 

Teach me the strain

That vanquished Him — 

When He — surrendered to the Sunrise — 

Maybe — that — would awaken them!  — 

This poem’s urgency is built on the person who is imagined to have told the writer to “shut up” when opening with the retort, “Put up my lute!/What of — my Music!”

I emphasize imagine because this is a dialogue going on inside the head. Someone who has died or moved out of my life, or even a non-commenting blog reader!  How often I catch myself in a conversation I only wish could take place. Answering with a scathing reply out of nowhere. Then I might add, “Since the sole ear I cared to charm — /(is) Passive — as Granite —”.

An honesty that I am talking to myself about the only one(s) I care to reach slips in to generate sincere motivation. Without their response to keep me going, my dream is that one day, if I persist with what my own truth, “Maybe — that — would awaken them!  — ”


Digest A  Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way