Having to create a balance between my own self-interests and other people’s interests is a real challenge. Usually I am mellow enough to make myself clear without causing a fight. In fact, people probably respect me for my honesty.

A few days ago I was served a summons from a court in my former state of residence in the South. Now, I have the unwelcome but perfect opportunity to demonstrate my conviction that poems by Emily Dickinson are an untapped resource to anyone in life-altering circumstances.

The first stanza of “From Cocoon forth a Butterfly” conjures a perfectly coiffed, Victorian a lady in dress of frills who emerges from her porch on a gorgeous day with no aim other than to go anywhere, and nowhere, as whim dictates. All manner of experience, and role permutations are portrayed in this rather long poem that ends with the decidedly unlovely fact of extinction.

From Cocoon forth a Butterfly
As Lady from her Door
Emerged – a Summer Afternoon –
Repairing Everywhere –

Without Design – that I could trace
Except to stray abroad
On miscellaneous Enterprise
The Clovers – understood –

Her pretty Parasol be seen
Contracting in a Field
Where Men made Hay –
Then struggling hard
With an opposing Cloud –

Where Parties – Phantom as Herself –
To Nowhere – seemed to go
In purposeless Circumference –
As ’twere a Tropic Show –

And notwithstanding Bee – that worked –
And Flower – that zealous blew –
This Audience of Idleness
Disdained them, from the Sky –

Till Sundown crept – a steady Tide –
And men that made the Hay –
And Afternoon – and Butterfly –
Extinguished – in the Sea –

Today, I begin the process of answering the summons on my own. I am not rich enough to hire a lawyer who wants $4,000 just to get started. I am almost as full of optimism as one who “Emerged – a Summer Afternoon – /Repairing Everywhere -”.

“The only Design – that I could trace” in my self representation is “to stray abroad”. The things I can see, “Where Men made Hay”, at my expense, like the legal system, a woman who has chosen to aim all her anger at me, and a thousand miles between me and the courts, may or may not render my enterprise a “purposeless Circumference – As ’twere a Tropic Show -”.

Digest A Poem A Day – Accept What Comes Your Way

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