That “fine invention,” faith (as Emily Dickinson humorously tagged it in another poem) is discussed in her “Faith – is the Pierless Bridge” in a way that reminds me of a truly modern type of faith.

Faith – is the Pierless Bridge
Supporting what We see
Unto the Scene that We do not –
Too slender for the eye

It bears the Soul as bold
As it were rocked in Steel
With Arms of Steel at either side –
It joins – behind the Veil

To what, could We presume
The Bridge would cease to be
To Our far, vacillating Feet
A first Necessity.

Nowadays, the majority of my friends and family share a new type of faith. No, we haven’t started some oddball church, nor claim rights to a new religion. Our relatively new belief system “is the Pierless Bridge” of search engines like Yahoo, Google and others. Whether this new faith is justified is quite another matter. Before computers were a gleam in the eye of engineer types, Dickinson’s examination of the ignorance that yawns between fact and fiction led to some fascinating ideas about what goes into that chasm.

A real bridge must exist with piers to support it. No mystery. Dickinson’s poem goes outside the realm of religion when identifying faith as that of pier. For, she claims, we do, in fact, see: “Supporting what We see”. So, faith is both the bridge and the pier.  (If we are to take the capitalized “We” as more important, here, than the lowercase “see,” then, as with the internet, or real-life victors and conquerors in the form of heroes and mentors, it is the communal experience that gives weight to that which is visible – anticipating our Twitter and Facebook culture.)

Modern tendencies that do not to rely so much on religious faith to dinghy us “Unto the Scene that We do not -” may indicate a simple shift of our impulses.  Our frustration about knowing of, but not understanding, all manner of topics, not the least of which may be ourselves, has not dulled aspirations that are “Too slender for the eye”. We stream our faith, just as our beliefs have turned up digitally.

Faith is as modern as ever. Morphed, perhaps. “It bears the Soul as bold/As it were rocked in Steel”. When I was young I wondered and worried about the so-called native-in-Africa, or tiny community in some obscure corner of the world who could not have religion as I knew it. A church building being one of those man-made things, “With Arms of Steel at either side -” that temporarily defined faith for me.

If I remove the clause in the last stanza, I get a critique, of sorts, of my evolving faith: “It joins – behind the Veil / To what, … vacillating Feet / A first Necessity.” Our youth depends entirely on – necessitates – the perception that stability, reliability and enduring love is absolute. That is, if the vacillating, ambivalent feet of tiny humans are to develop effectively. Believing as a young person that my mother is flawless, or that my father defines the world, is exactly what I need. What I must see, if you will.

Like bridges from our youth to our adulthood, “…could We presume / The Bridge would cease to be / To Our far” mature life, then the disastrous effect on our tender welfare would exceed the demise of all things digital.


Ponder A Poem A Day – Accept What Comes Your Way


The first stanza of “To put this World down, like a Bundle —” by Emily Dickinson, pulls me into it with its easy language and rhythm. At first I think I’m going to like the picture of putting “this World down, like a Bundle -”.

But, the remainder, for the most part, ushers up pictures for me of sanctimonious churchgoers who need to lighten up!

To put this World down, like a Bundle –
And walk steady, away,
Requires Energy – possibly Agony –
‘Tis the Scarlet way

Trodden with straight renunciation
By the Son of God –
Later, his faint Confederates
Justify the Road –

Flavors of that old Crucifixion
Filaments of Bloom, Pontius Pilate sowed –
Strong Clusters, from Barabbas’ Tomb –

Sacrament, Saints partook before us –
Patent, every drop,
With the Brand of the Gentile Drinker
Who indorsed the Cup –

I don’t feel as ornery as I did yesterday. I’m pretty happy today. But, this poem provokes the suspicion I haven’t suffered enough in my life. I won’t say I don’t know “the Scarlet way”, which I take as epitomized in the poem when “Trodden with straight renunciation/By the Son of God -”.

However, I never gave up anything I wanted in my life, without a fight, I’m thinking. Don’t kid me. Who does?

Years ago, I was overweight at the beginning of a pregnancy. Fearing to feel like a beached whale after nine months, I put myself on a diet and lost enough to check into the hospital when he was born weighing what I had at the beginning. Serious dieting. 

That is the only time I ever did “walk steady, away,” from temptation, willingly.  

Well, I guess there have been a few good-looking human specimens toward whom I have forced myself to look only. Do you think that counts to ally myself among “his faint Confederates” in “renunciation”? 

I’m certain the piles of high-calorie foods that I did not taste generated “Flavors of that old Crucifixion” when I could hear the calories burning. So much discipline absolutely “Requires Energy – possibly Agony -”.

But, even I would not count any such transactions on my part as “Sacrament, Saints partook before us -”

Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way