Today I discovered Emily Dickinson.

Last time I read her was at the age of twelve, when I rejected her totally and forever. It wasn’t what she said, which I did not remotely grasp – it was the way it sounded. Such sweet rhyme – it revolted me. I had been around, I knew the world was anything but sweet! Ha! I sneered, and refused to read her for the next 53 years.

Until today, when she snuck up on me. It was T’ai Chi that got me so quiet and defenseless. After finishing my morning practice, I took up one of my favorite poetry collections, Stephen Mitchell’s The Enlightened Heart, sat down at my desk, and carefully opened it at random.

And – Boo! There was Emily Dickinson!

What luck, I sighed. I read the poem anyway. And then I read it again. And again…

Finally there was nothing I could do but write this confession, and copy her words here for you:

The Brain – is wider than the Sky –

For – put them side by side –

The one the other will contain

With ease – and You – beside –

 

The Brain is deeper than the sea –

For – hold them – Blue to Blue –

The one the other will absorb –

As Sponges – Buckets – do –

 

The Brain is just the weight of God –

For – Heft them – Pound for Pound –

And they will differ – if they do –

As Syllable from Sound –

 

I am still reeling.

My God, Emily!

Trudi Lee Richards

Trudi Lee Richards, writer and poet-bard of Silo’s Message, is the author of Confessions of Olivia; On Wings of Intent, a biography of Silo; Soft Brushes with Death; Fish Scribbles; and Experiences on the Threshold. In the pre-internet past she published Human Future, an independent review published from 1989-96 in San Francisco, CA; and was co-founder of La Mamelle, a San Francisco arts publication from the '70s. A graduate of Stanford University, she is the mother of five grown kids/stepkids and five step grandkids. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon.