Sometimes it isn’t practical to act natural. Except in my own imagination.

I learn from Emily Dickinson’s “Had I not This, or This, I said,” to entertain contradictory desires with my own thoughts if that is how it is. Friends and loved ones, however, aren’t likely to satisfy the same urges if I’m feeling the need for experiences on a profound, rather than superficial level. I’m constantly having to measure this.

Had I not This, or This, I said,
Appealing to Myself,
In moment of prosperity –
Inadequate – were Life –

“Thou hast not Me, nor Me” – it said,
In moment of Reverse –
“And yet Thou art industrious –
No need – had’st Thou of us -“?

My need – was all I had – I said
The need did not reduce –
Because the food – exterminate –
The hunger – does not cease –

But diligence – is sharper –
Proportioned to the chance –
To feed opon the Retrograde –
Enfeebles – the Advance –

The poem mimics a type of conversation going on inside my head that I often don’t even acknowledge until I find myself thinking about some deep-rooted feelings about old relationships. The trick is to avoid being obsessive. “To feed opon the Retrograde — / Enfeebles — the Advance”.

These hidden energies are as much a part of me as the ones I might find more suitable to the current situation. The concerns of today are to mail some Christmas gifts, buy a couple of special holiday cards, get a manicure and make a final decision about what to wear to an event this evening. “Had I not This, or This, I said, / Appealing to Myself,”. I wouldn’t change a thing.

But I also wouldn’t count today’s “moment of prosperity” any more significant to well-being than “The hunger — (that) does not cease — ” and which I have the opportunity to explore as I talk about poems. “But diligence — is sharper — /Proportioned to the chance — ”.  The chance I have is a combination of the time I make for daydreaming, writing, reading, researching; in fluctuating ratio to that life which friends, loved ones and fate allow. 


Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way