It takes considerable quiet and imagination, but the result is meditative and rejuvenating. 

I could be talking about sex, sunsets, prayer, beauty, awe or eternity. Each of these elements of life, and likely more, is engaged in “The Day undressed — Herself — ” by Emily Dickinson to encourage me to be more sensitive to and more aware of the subtler aspects of the world around me.

The Day undressed – Herself –
Her Garter – was of Gold –
Her Petticoat of Purple – plain –
Her Dimities as old

Exactly – as the World
And yet the newest Star
Enrolled opon the Hemisphere –
Be wrinkled – much as Her –

Too near to God – to pray –
Too near to Heaven – to fear –
The Lady of the Occident
Retired without a Care –

Her Candle so expire
The Flickering be seen
On Ball of Mast – in Bosporus –
And Dome – and Window Pane –

“Herself” is either alone or slowly letting down “Her Garter (which) — was of Gold” for the benefit of an audience.

Perhaps she is alone, since “Her Petticoat of Purple (is) — plain — ”. Certainly, if no one is enthralled by her perpetual youth, although “Her Dimities (sheer undies) are as old — /Exactly — as the World”, and she is as wrinkle-free as the “newest Star/Enrolled in the Hemisphere”, she is “too near to God — to pray” or “to fear” if no one notices.

The poem reminds me “The Day” is “The Lady”, who is “Retired without a Care”, despite my occasional effort to worry it into the night. Trite? Yep! Quaint, or old fashioned, at least. But, there it is.

It’s the meditation that is as modern or as old as sunset’s invitation.

But, here’s the new thought: Eternity is here and elsewhere, “Her Candle so expire/The Flickering be seen/On Ball of Mast — in Bosporus —/And Dome — and Window Pane — ”.  

A ship mast’s ball is not particularly large as spheres go; it is simply part of the support structure. Bosphorus is a strait only about 18 miles long between Turkey in Europe and Turkey in Asia. But, our “candle’s flickering” is detectable in remote obscurity as much as it presents itself to my little notice.


Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way