I love my life and the opportunity to share online and in discussion groups the poems of Emily Dickinson. By volunteering frequently at the Emily Dickinson Museum, many wonderful neighbors have become friends. Occasionally, and today being one of those occasions, I have an urge to shake things up and do something totally different. That’s fine, you say. My (not-so-big) problems is – I have an equal desire to keep things as they are.

Dickinson’s “They called me to the Window, for” shows the poet’s power to create enormous change of pace from everyday habits and routines, without actually going anywhere, by reading her own imaginary images. Then, translating them in this poem.

They called me to the Window, for
” ‘Twas Sunset” – Some one said –
I only saw a Sapphire Farm –
And just a Single Herd –

Of Opal Cattle — feeding far
Upon so vain a Hill –
As even while I looked – dissolved –
Nor Cattle were – nor Soil –

But in their Room – a Sea – displayed –
And Ships — of such a size
As Crew of Mountains – could afford –
And Decks – to seat the skies –

This – too – the Showman rubbed away –
And when I looked again –
Nor Farm – nor Opal Herd – was there –
Nor Mediterranean –

I can almost get my shot of something different, electric and exciting by bearing down (in my own imagination) on the flight from reality in this poem.

Somebody in the family calls me to the window ~ “” ‘Twas Sunset” – Some one said -” ~ to show me a sunset. What could be more commonplace? Sunset itself a ritual; predictable, if unique each time.

Then, imagination takes over. The poem recognizes what is unstable, short about a sunset and then “runs with it” using magical pictures of “.. a Sapphire Farm – ” and “Opal Cattle – ” that “.. even while I looked – dissolved – ”.

I am not looking for anything steady. Just a temporary jolt. Enhanced by the poem, I’m caught up in the display before me that so thoroughly displaces itself in stages ~ “But in their Room (stead) – a Sea – displayed – ” one image is wiped out by the other, which also changes immediately ~ “This – too – the Showman rubbed away -”. (In one of Dickinson’s notes on this poem she uses “stead” in place of “Room.”)

All of a sudden, “And when I look again -”, this fantazmagorical break with routine is gone. “Nor Farm – nor Opal Herd – was there -/Nor Mediterranean – ”.  Just what I needed.

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