This child-like poem from Emily Dickinson still speaks to me. Especially now, five years after I first published it. Imagine you’re a child again, wondering about what comes after this life. Or even what’s already here in this life–given Emily’s historical setting and your own. My response follows Emily’s poem.
Will there really be a “Morning”?
Is there such a thing as “Day”?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?
Has it feet like Water lilies?
Has it feathers like a Bird?
Is it brought from famous countries
Of which I have never heard?
Oh some Scholar! Oh some Sailor!
Oh some Wise Man from the skies!
Please to tell a little Pilgrim
Where the place called “Morning” lies!
Emily Dickinson Poems, Edited by Brenda Hillman
Shambhala Pocket Classics, Shambhala 1995
I wonder what was on your mind when you wrote this. Maybe the War between the States? Family members who fought in it? Or how about the devastation left behind when so many cities and fertile fields were laid waste via fire?
Some people don’t think things here are that bad now; others don’t agree. I’d say we at least have something like it.
Then again, maybe you were thinking of less visible things. Perhaps a personal loss you couldn’t show the world. Or the piled up anguish of watching one family member after another decline in health and leave this world. Or your keen awareness that this world doesn’t always value what you value, or see things the way you do.
I think we have all of that right now, and more just keeps coming. I also think we’re getting tired of it.
Maybe you were lonely when you wrote this. So lonely that you would have been happy to leave this life behind. You might have been lonely for the birds and insects, trees and shrubs, water lilies and butterflies, sunrises and sunsets. All creatures great and small. Your outdoor cathedral and congregation where you felt safe, understood and appreciated. Without having to explain yourself over and over.
In your poem you call yourself a little Pilgrim. I like that. It’s a very kind and tender way to talk about yourself. Almost, but not quite putting yourself down because you don’t happen to be a scholar, sailor or wise man from the skies. I think you’re already a wise woman, a sailor of sometimes treacherous social seas, and a deep scholar of human life.
Now that you’re There, I wonder whether, as a Wise Woman from the skies, you might tell me where the place called “Morning” lies. Could you? Would you? It seems we have many lost souls here who are looking for that place. If not here, then where? Can you help us find it? Or at least send us a little poem about it?
Your pen pal, Elouise ♥
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 July 2017, reposted 18 August 2022
Photo found at collegewritingpoetry.wordpress.com