Going from one stage of my life to another may force me to prove that what I am doing is worthwhile. Implied “others” in Emily Dickinson’s, “No Notice gave She, but a Change”, may represent the challenge when feeling at cross-purposes with family and friends.

No Notice gave She, but a Change –
No Message, but a sigh –
For Whom, the Time did not suffice
That she should specify.

She was not warm, though Summer shone
Nor scrupulous of cold
Though Rime by Rime, the steady Frost
Opon Her Bosom piled –

Of shrinking ways – she did not fright
Though all the Village looked –
But held Her gravity aloft –
And met the gaze – direct –

And when adjusted like a seed
In careful fitted Ground
Unto the Everlasting Spring
And hindered but a Mound

Her Warm return, if so she chose –
And We – imploring drew –
Removed our invitation by
As Some She never knew –

No one need act directly or resist my efforts. And, I need not be explicit; “No Message, but a sigh —”. Perhaps too much time is required. Or, not enough time is possible, “.. the Time did not suffice / That she should specify.”

There is nothing passive, however, about the relationship when a simple phone call feels like a challenge if family or friends are taken by surprise when I make unexpected choices. “Of shrinking ways — she did not fright / Though all the Village looked —”.

I may feel I have to defend myself, “But held Her gravity aloft — / And met the gaze — direct —”.  I have to teach myself that usually others’ motives are the same as mine. We all want to be “.. adjusted like a seed / In careful fitted Ground”.

The poem uses the specter of eternal change to dramatize earthly ones. “Unto the Everlasting Spring/And hindered but a Mound”.

Like a lover who has broken off one time too many, will they seek “Her Warm return, if so she chose — / And We — imploring drew —”, only to find they “Removed our invitation / As Some She never knew —”?

Unless I can see the experience of counter-forces as inevitable when changes occur, periodically, how am I to own my own choices? 

Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way

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