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

Author, poet, Spanish-English translator; Activist and community builder. Member of the international Community of Silo's Message (www.silosmessage.net) and its Portland, Oregon and Red Bluff, California communities (www.RedBluffPark.org) Published work includes "On Wings of Intent, a biography of Silo," "Soft Brushes with Death, a Jorge Espinet Primer," "Fish Scribbles," and "Experiences on the Threshold - with Silo's Message." Also publisher and editor of "Human Future," an independent review published in San Francisco, California, from 1989 to 1996. Mother of five grown kids/stepkids and five step grandkids; Long ago graduate of Stanford University; Lives in Portland, Oregon.