If Emily Dickinson had clung to her inalienable right for happiness in a relationship, we might not have “Fitter to see Him, I may be”. Her poem suggests that no matter how bad the wound, there’s always an upside — if we demand it — when life doesn’t turn out.

Fitter to see Him, I may be
For the long Hindrance – Grace – to Me –
With Summers, and with Winters, grow,
Some passing Year – A trait bestow

To make Me fairest of the Earth –
The Waiting – then – will seem so worth
I shall impute with half a pain
The blame that I was chosen – then –

Time to anticipate His Gaze –
It’s first – Delight – and then – Surprise –
The turning o’er and o’er my face
For Evidence it be the Grace –

He left behind One Day – So less
He seek Conviction, That – be This –

I only must not grow so new
That He’ll mistake – and ask for me
Of me – when first unto the Door
I go – to Elsewhere go no more –

I only must not change so fair
He’ll sigh – “The Other – She – is Where?”
The Love, tho’, will array me right
I shall be perfect – in His sight –

If He perceive the other Truth –
Upon an Excellenter Youth –

How sweet I shall not lack in Vain –
But gain – thro’ loss – Through Grief – obtain –
The Beauty that reward Him best –
The Beauty of Demand – at Rest –

If I make the most of “the long Hindrance” of not getting my own way, the question becomes how to apply the poet’s “.. trait bestow / To make Me fairest of the Earth”. It was for her to be unique communicator-in-verse, entertainer and story-teller. The question posed for me and other readers is what individual traits can I nourish and train that will produce comparable peace and harmony in place of living in the past with curmudgeon regrets.

If I assign the blame (“I shall impute”) for my suffering on “The waiting”, which results in the advantage of uncovering my buried strengths, it “will seem so worth /… half the pain”.

But, let me imagine how it would be to regain what I lost. “Time to anticipate His Gaze”. The consideration of which helps me think outside criteria I set for myself; to the meaning of change in relation to others. Am I, with age, really a better person? “I only must not grow so new / … I only must not change so fair”. If having lost “.. the Grace” of youth, what “.. so new” is in its place? How do I know if I’m better? By what standard? Love’s? “The Love, tho’ will array me right”. Whose love ? Can I trust “his” perceptions? Along with love, there is another truth. Change.

“I shall be perfect — in His sight — / If He perceive the other Truth”. Does “he” grasp that time adds “Opon an Excellenter Youth —” because it is impossible to remain the same. However, if I “But gain — thro’ loss — Through Grief — ..”. If “he” can perceive the truth of love and the truth of change, and I don’t rely only on the progress of time, then “Beauty that reward …”

Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes your Way