A Thought went up my mind today —

by Elouise

Here’s indisputable evidence of Emily Dickinson’s ability to capture everyday experiences with an economy of words. My comments follow.

A Thought went up my mind today –
That I have had before –
But did not finish – some way back –
I could not fix the Year –

Nor where it went – nor why it came
The second time to me –
Nor definitely, what it was –
Have I the Art to say –

But somewhere – in my Soul – I know –
I’ve met the Thing before –
It just reminded me – ‘twas all –
And came my way no more –

c. 1863

Emily Dickinson Poems, Edited by Brenda Hillman
Shambhala Pocket Classics, Shambhala 1995

I love this poem from Emily, especially the opening suggestion that her mind is a chimney. The poem itself is amazingly clear and simple, without losing its mysterious reference to the Thought.

In fact, we could spend a little time right now trying to figure out what Emily’s as yet unformed Thought was. Isn’t that what interpretation of poetry is all about? Emily’s poem is like a tongue-in-cheek joke as she sits back to see what we might discover about her deep Thought. So deep that not even she could remember or articulate it.

They say that if you’re a writer you should always carry a notebook to record all the stunningly insightful Thoughts that pass through your mind unbidden. Brilliant Thoughts! Creative Thoughts! Catch them before they fade away! You might use them someday. Right?

Well….the problem for me, and, I’m guessing, for most writers (including Emily), is that we’re an amazingly Thought-filled tribe. We don’t control the incoming tide or the evaporating mist of our precocious insights.

Just maybe, instead of carrying around scraps of paper or heavy notebooks for our genius thoughts, we should carry around butterfly nets! Then we could run around in meadows capturing those flighty bits of precocious wisdom and turns of phrase before they flit away!

Or then again, we might console ourselves with the Thought that having experiences like Emily’s is a sure sign we’re writers! Bravo! It’s our trademark! How else to explain and celebrate our brilliance?

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 24 October 2017
Smoking Chimney image found at cliparts.zone
Butterfly net image found at neh.gov
Daily Prompt: Trademark