One of the things I love about poems by Emily Dickinson is how they go beyond most poetry, even great poetry, which derive power in precision. Many beautiful poems find ways to express what we respond to by saying, “Oh! I’ve thought that; or, felt that; or, noticed it. But, I never considered writing it.”

Dickinson poems do that in an almost off-handed manner. Why? I think Dickinson’s dominance over other works is in jumping from the universal-but-unspoken truths we all recognize once they been articulated.  Then, confounding us with a larger truth. In “He fumbles at your Soul” the poem reorganizes our sense of time and space for the sake of bringing us back to what it considers the only important space – within each heart.

He fumbles at your Soul
As Players at the Keys –
Before they drop full Music on –
He stuns you by Degrees –

Prepares your brittle nature
For the etherial Blow
By fainter Hammers – further heard-
Then nearer – Then so – slow –

Your Breath – has time to straighten –
Your Brain – to bubble cool –
Deals One – imperial Thunderbolt –
That scalps your naked soul –

When Winds hold Forests in their Paws –
The Universe – still –

The wooshing rhythm and clipped phrases mimic the wild unpredictability of a storm. And, of passion. Of a lover whose “hands fumble at your Soul”, in the way a piano virtuoso plays (with?) the keys.

Our lives are “taken for a ride,” or, if you prefer the modern phrase, “follow your bliss.”

By contrast, we are reminded that finally if we have a way to get there, we want to return to a quieter place than where we were before.

Before reading the poem.

Digest A Poem A Day – Accept What Comes Your Way