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Tag: Emily Dickinson

Connie Bensley at 89

Sunday, 22 July, 2018

The English poet Connie Bensley was born in 1929, in south-west London, where she still lives. She worked first as a secretary and later as a medical copywriter and filled her rare spare moments between office and home with verse that evokes the fastidiousness of a career where words counted. In her descriptions, there are flashes of Betjeman’s wit and notes of Larkin’s sharpness when observing what Jean Hartley called “ordinary people doing ordinary things”.

Apologia

My life is too dull and too careful–
even I can see that:
the orderly bedside table,
the spoilt cat.

Surely I should have been bolder.
What could biographers say?
She got up, ate toast and went shopping
day after day?

Whisky and gin are alarming,
Ecstasy makes you drop dead.
Toy boys make inroads on cash
and your half of the bed.

Emily Dickinson, help me.
Stevie, look up from your Aunt.
Some people can stand excitement,
some people can’t.

Connie Bensley


Ophelia and the disconnected

Wednesday, 18 October, 2017 0 Comments

The terms being used to describe Ophelia range from hurricane to cyclone to post-tropical storm. Regardless of the name, Ophelia did considerable damage in Ireland and more than 100,000 people are still without electricity as a result. Some of these reside in places well known to your blogger and this verse from Hope is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson is dedicated to all those waiting in the cold and the dark for those blue crosses and pins to be removed by ESB repair crews.

And sweetest — in the Gale — is heard
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm

Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)

ESB outages


Apple and the War of the Ems and the Ens

Tuesday, 11 July, 2017 0 Comments

In short: Apple’s upcoming iOS 11 will replace the convention of typing two hyphens to obtain a “long dash”, the so-called em dash —. So today, if you type – – it’s turned into —. With iOS 11, however, two hyphens become the shorter en dash: –. And to get an em dash, you’ll have to type three hyphens - - -.

Is this important? Glenn Fleishman thinks it is and he has devoted a detailed post to the matter. His conclusion: This change appears in the beta release of iOS 11, so it may not end up in the final version later this year.

By the way, the most famous em dash user was Emily Dickinson, who employed it in her poetry to emphasize emotion and punctuation —

Luck is not chance

Luck is not chance—
It’s Toil—
Fortune’s expensive smile
Is earned—
The Father of the Mine
Is that old-fashioned Coin
We spurned—

Emily Dickinson (1830 — 1886)


Happy Christmas!

Sunday, 25 December, 2016 0 Comments

The journey of a “A rugged billion miles” has many twists and turns said the poet Emily Dickinson. The task of developing a moral vision is arduous and it’s a hard road we’ve been travelling since Bethlehem but we do have a guide. Now that we’ve arrived at Christmas Day, let’s recall those who introduced us to its true meaning. On behalf of the Rainy Day team: Happy Christmas!

The Savior must have been a docile Gentleman

The Savior must have been
A docile Gentleman –
To come so far so cold a Day
For little Fellowmen –

The Road to Bethlehem
Since He and I were Boys
Was leveled, but for that ‘twould be
A rugged Billion Miles –

Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)


The well of mystery

Sunday, 31 January, 2016 0 Comments

It was my mother’s custom to fill bottles with water from each holy well she visited. “A neighbor from another world / Residing in a jar / Whose limit none has ever seen” is how Emily Dickinson describes the mystical spirit, the magical genii, that was conserved in those bottles. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson contains 1,775 of her compositions. Number 1,400 begins: “What mystery pervades a well!” Here, the well is not just a vital source of water but a spring of spiritual refreshment.

In the fifth verse, Dickinson issues a stern warning about the arrogance of those who fail to respect “nature”, with its “ghost” of the supernatural, and she concludes by addressing a universal remorse: The regret “That those who know her, know her less / The nearer her they get.”

What mystery pervades a well!

What mystery pervades a well!
That water lives so far–
A neighbor from another world
Residing in a jar

Whose limit none have ever seen,
But just his lid of glass–
Like looking every time you please
In an abyss’s face!

The grass does not appear afraid,
I often wonder he
Can stand so close and look so bold
At what is awe to me.

Related somehow they may be,
The sedge stands next the sea–
Where he is floorless
And does no timidity betray

But nature is a stranger yet;
The ones that cite her most
Have never passed her haunted house,
Nor simplified her ghost.

To pity those that know her not
Is helped by the regret
That those who know her, know her less
The nearer her they get.

Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)

Going to the well for water: St. Pecaun's well is at the eastern end of the Glen of Aherlow, between Bansha and Cahir

Going to the well for water: St. Pecaun’s Well is at the eastern end of the Glen of Aherlow, between Bansha and Cahir in Tipperary


March is in

Sunday, 8 March, 2015 0 Comments

Born in 1830 in Massachusetts, Emily Dickinson lived her life in almost complete isolation from the outside world. Her condensed verse profoundly influenced the direction of 20th century poetry and she is now regarded as a uniquely gifted voice. Familiar with severe New England winters, Dickinson appreciated the joys of spring.

Dear March – Come in –

How glad I am –
I hoped for you before –
Put down your Hat –
You must have walked –
How out of Breath you are –
Dear March, how are you, and the Rest –
Did you leave Nature well –
Oh March, Come right upstairs with me –
I have so much to tell –

I got your Letter, and the Birds –
The Maples never knew that you were coming –
I declare – how Red their Faces grew –
But March, forgive me –
And all those Hills you left for me to Hue –
There was no Purple suitable –
You took it all with you –

Who knocks? That April –
Lock the Door –
I will not be pursued –
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied –
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come

That blame is just as dear as Praise
And Praise as mere as Blame –

Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)

March


No!

Sunday, 16 November, 2014 0 Comments

“November always seemed to me the Norway of the year,” wrote Emily Dickinson. The “No” in the month’s name arouses wintry, Nordic feelings. The fog is dense, mornings are raw and the air bites at the ears in this 11th month. Thomas Hood, who suffered from ill health through most of his short life, summed up the negatives of November.

November

No sun — no moon!
No morn — no noon.
No dawn — no dusk — no proper time of day.

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member.
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds!
November!

Thomas Hood (1799 — 1845)


A door just opened on a street

Sunday, 5 May, 2013 0 Comments

A door just opened on a street — I, lost, was passing by — An instant’s width of warmth disclosed And wealth, and company. The door as sudden shut, and I, I, lost, was passing by, — Lost doubly, but by contrast most, Enlightening misery. Emily Dickinson (10 December 1830 — 15 May 1886) According […]

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It powders all the Wood

Sunday, 20 January, 2013 0 Comments

It sifts from Leaden Sieves — It powders all the Wood. It fills with Alabaster Wool The Wrinkles of the Road — It makes an Even Face Of Mountain, and of Plain — Unbroken Forehead from the East Unto the East again — It reaches to the Fence — It wraps it Rail by Rail […]

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Farwell to summer

Friday, 31 August, 2012

Traditionally, summer extends for the months of June, July and August in the northern hemisphere. And now that it’s ending, filled with grief as its passing, we’ll bid farewell to those lazy, hazy days with the immortal, ethereal verse of Emily Dickinson. As imperceptibly as Grief The Summer lapsed away— Too imperceptible at last To […]

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