As I peep at the new year I hope I’ll make the best choices. For many years now I’ve wanted to give away the power of Emily Dickinson poetry. Especially to incest victim/survivors and to bereaved parents and siblings.

“When I hoped, I recollect” seems a fluid poem. It is applicable at so many points along the spectrum of shattered dreams, shock, anger, despair; as well as renewed hope and ambition. It begins by recalling times in the long trek of personal challenges when I searched for an understanding of just where I stood. Whether buoyed by hope, or mired in difficulty, I am seldom without a poem that improves and enhances my grasp of reality. 

When I hoped, I recollect
Just the place I stood —
At a Window facing West —
Roughest Air — was good —

Not a Sleet could bite me —
Not a frost could cool —
Hope it was that kept me warm —
Not Merino shawl —

When I feared — I recollect
Just the Day it was —
Worlds were lying out to Sun —
Yet how Nature froze —

Icicles upon my soul
Prickled Blue and Cool —
Bird went praising everywhere —
Only Me — was still —

And the Day that I despaired —
This — if I forget
Nature will — that it be Night
After Sun has set —
Darkness intersect her face —
And put out her eye —
Nature hesitate — before
Memory and I —

Unspeakable loss and crippling confusion are nonetheless visited periodically by a desire to find new expression and people with whom to share it.

Alternating between bouts of hope, when “Roughest Air — was good — ”, fear, “Icicles opon my soul / Prickled Blue and cool — ”, then despair, when life is apparently only happening elsewhere. Then, “Only Me — was still — ”

Probably only a heart unhinged by “Darkness intersect her face — ” sufficient to build blindness to all that is good, will understand how nature can seem a cruel assist, capable to remind me, “This — if I forget / Nature will — ”, of the person or event that “put out her eye — ”.

Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way