Did death ever have such liveliness and charm as in the poem “Dropped into the Ether Acre — ” by Emily Dickinson? 

The poem’s first line acts like a doctor or therapist who knows just where to find the tender spot to get my attention and go to work. Once that is accomplished, the poem then strokes my vulnerability with pretty imagery drawn from an easily imagined but exuberant experience: a lady’s journey in style. 

Dropped into the Ether Acre -

Wearing the Sod Gown -

Bonnet of everlasting Laces -

Brooch – frozen on –

Horses of Blond – and Coach of Silver -

Baggage a strapped Pearl -

Journey of Down – and Whip of Diamond -

Riding to meet the Earl –

The audacity of using death to call attention to the omnipotent sensations in earthly luxuries implies a huge ambition I love being touched by.

Death, “the ether Acre —”, drops me like an inanimate, utterly finite piece of inconsequence. But, then, the poem pulls me into life without moving from its subject of death; the freedom to explore the charms of life without ignoring its crashing and inevitable opposite.  

A parallel for 2008 might be something like:

Wearing the Sod Jean Paul Gaultier Gown –
Hat by Everlasting Versace
Haute couture jewelry by Line Vautrin frozen on –

Riding in the style of “Horses of Blond — and Coach of Silver”, today, if I over estimate my abilities, or exaggerate my possibilities, I would see myself  driving an Audi R8 V10 or a yellow Bentley trimmed in platinum. And baggage? I think lilac weekend bags by Widdop Bingham. Nothing too big.

Of course, on the way to The Plaza in New York with my weekend lover I will encounter no potholes, no traffic, no impediment to testing the limits of an incredible engine with my hand on its diamond studded gear-shift, a “Journey of Down – / and Whip of Diamond -”. Oh joy.

If the difference between courage and foolhardiness is, as someone has said, simple self-knowledge, the poem dramatizes a free play of imagery for the sake of accomplishing both self knowledge and hopefully, courage. 

 

Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way

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