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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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Tuesday, November 15

Emily Dickinson Again

Over four years ago, I wrote a brief discussion of some of Emily Dickinson’s best and best-known poems. See the featured post to the right. If you never read the original, you might want to go to it before reading what else I have to say about Emily. Now that I’m running out of Trump comments, I think a revisit is in order. After all, she must have had something to say about such people as Donald Trump, didn’t she? Here’s what I found:
If she were alive today, she might have substituted "basket of deplorables" for "Bog."

With her comparisons of sounds to visual images, she was half a century ahead of the Imagist Movement of the Twentieth Century. Here, in a lovely, surprising metaphor, she compares the music of a lark to silver-foiled bulbs, like Hershey kisses.
And in the following quatrain, she invites us to see from above an ocean, with shores of sand protecting the land from the sea. There’s even an echo of e. e. cummings when she compares the “silver” of the water to an "Everywhere.”
In many of her poems, she reflects her Puritan background, her faith in God and heaven, an afterlife, or, as she often called it, “Eternity.” But then she could also, tongue in cheek, say, “Faith is a fine invention / When Gentlemen can see – / But Microscopes are prudent / In an Emergency.”

In a parallel to the poem “I heard a fly buzz” that I discussed four years ago, here she describes the moment of death and the inability of the dying person to tell us what may lie beyond.
Another of her love poems, addressed to that mystery man she hints at but never names, this one marking off the time between their infrequent visits, even saying that if she were positive they would be together when they died, she’d happily give up her life, “toss it yonder, like a rind.”
Although many of her poems are maddeningly enigmatic, she instructs her readers that “The Riddle we can guess / We speedily despise – / Not anything is stale so long / As Yesterday’s surprise –”

And now, for all poets and writers of any kind who cherish language both spoken and written, here’s Dickinson’s succinct statement about the value and immortality of words. “A word is dead / When it is said, / Some say, / I say it just / Begins to live / That day.” That's enough, probably more than enough, of this strange little lady who wrote in near obscurity when she was alive, but who now is alive and well in the modern popularity of her poetry.
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