If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking. Poetry of Emily Dickinson (Aug. 2007)

Susan's Thursday morning note August 2, 2007 
If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking…poetry of Emily Dickinson

Good morning!  I’ll be honest with you – Chip (the hamster if you’ve forgotten!) has an entirely new perspective on my mornings now that I’ve gotten kittens.  He has recently had new words at 5:30 in the mornings added to his vocabulary, words he didn’t know his little lady of the house had in her repertoire.  He notices that she doesn’t appreciate the fact that the two little (undeclawed at this point) kittens seem to believe her arms are shortcuts for the next locale in her home that they want to unleash their untapped mischief & destruction on.  But – once again saving the lady’s day…a perfect combination of filler in her coffee – causing the entire universe around her to align into a structured order for her thoughts to then percolate for all of you!

This week before bed I’ve been reading poetry by Emily Dickinson (okay, I’ll humble myself and admit that Anne Lindbergh referred often to readings by Emily Dickinson, so I wanted to see for myself what influenced my new role model, Anne!) I’m going to just write for you a few of the poems that I marked and hope that you enjoy mulling over them with me this week.  She is a beautiful writer with and her word-pictures easily calmed me in the evenings when typically my mind would want to spin from the thoughts/activities of my days.  Enjoy!

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
Some things that fly there be, -
Birds, hours, the bumble-bee: Of these no elegy.
Some things that stay there be, -
Grief, hills, eternity: Nor this behooveth me...
He ate and drank the precious words, (I LOVE THIS ONE!)
His spirit grew robust;
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was dust.
He danced along the dingy days,
And this bequest of wings
Was but a book.
What liberty A loosened spirit brings!
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
A poor torn heart, a tattered heart,
That sat it down to rest,
Nor noticed that the ebbing day
Flowed silver to the west,
Nor noticed night did soft descend
Nor constellation burn,
Intent upon the vision of latitudes unknown.

The angels, happening that way,
This dusty heart espied;
Tenderly took it up from toil
And carried it to God.
There, - sandals for the barefoot;
There, - gathered from the gales,
Do the blue havens by the hand
Lead the wandering sails

Have a great week.  Enjoy your little gifts from God.  The little gifts are the beautiful gifts – for they are more personal than what others see, little smiles, little flowers, little birds (filler in your coffee!).  Notice them – they’ll sustain you for anything big that you can’t control.    Listen to those little birds – they know your story & they’re singing for you.  Susan

Work cited:
Dickinson, Emily.  Dickinson : Poems.  New York: Everyman's Library, 1993.