Similar to yesterday’s poem, today, “To own the Art within the Soul” is rooted in, and, I think, celebrates a steadfast common sense logic. 

I’ve been thinking about the combination of expressing feelings, reasoned logical communication, and, thirdly, sympathy of the type where I literally feel with another person.  I read into this Emily Dickinson poem a question about whether I rely enough on my own resources. The poem accomplishes this for me through the mastery of all three two-way communication styles.

To own the Art within the Soul
The Soul to entertain
With Silence as a Company
And Festival maintain

In an unfurnished Circumstance
Possession is to One
As an Estate perpetual
Or a reduceless Mine.

While the poem is deeply personal, it reveals an intense, sympathetic observation of the moods and feelings of other people. Those who seem always compelled to plan or be part of group activities and have no ability “The Soul to entertain”.

If the poem reveals anything of the gifts and gratitude for so many private basic themes with which to pass the time, it also observes the meaning of “a Company” to others. Grammar aside, and apropos to the poem itself, capitalizations – the proliferation of which readers of Dickinson are familiar – alert me to there being more than the customary number and placement of subjects in a sentence.  If every capitalized word indicates a subject in the writer’s life, as it does in the poem, something of the liveliness enjoyed is embedded in and conveyed by this tactic. “And Festival maintain”.

So, that which on the surface appears as a clarion call to self-entertainment comes with a promise that if I listen with feelings as well as words, though my life may at times appear to be an “unfurnished Circumstance”, there will be no overspending possible, no bankruptcy, ever, in my “Estate” perpetuated by life’s unlimited dishing up of its subjects.

Digest A Poem A Day – Accept What Comes Your Way

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