Friday, May 29, 2009

Emily Dickinson Cento

LORETTA HASKELL (Word Count: 643)

“Much madness is divinest sense
I asked no other thing
The soul selects her own society,
The banquet of abstemiousness
To help our bleaker parts
Too sullied for the hell
As if my brain had split
And if forgetting, recollecting
The farthest thunder that I heard.
Are friends delight or pain?
Enlightening misery.
Riches were good.
I wonder if it hurts to live,
Finite to fail, but infinite to venture.
Impaled him on her fiercest stakes—
And if I don’t, the little Bird
Yet blamed the fate that fractured, less
Replenished, --faith cannot.
Till sudden I perceived it stir,--
Wisdom is becoming more viewed
Life, and Death, and Giants
Our lives are Swiss,--
Besides, the deepest cellar
To hang our head ostensibly,
The bone that has no marrow;
The brain is deeper than the sea,
Or a disgrace.
To fail with land in sight,
A thing that cannot ignite
The past is such a curious creature,
Salubrious hours are given,
I must not put my foot amiss
So slowly and cautiously;
Had there been no sharp subtraction
How sleek the woe appears.
With infinite affection
The distant strains of triumph
Our blank is scorning.
Hundreds have lost, indeed,
Have ventured all upon a throw;
Forty gone down together
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I might have chanced that way!
‘T is but the ecstasy of death,
The heart asks pleasure first,
In just the dress his century wore;
The mighty merchant smiled.
Unmoved, she notes the chariot’s pausing
A pair of spectacles ajar just stir—
Grief, hills, eternity:
To fight aloud is very brave.
That we can touch the spaces,
And get the dimples ready,
Till we are less afraid;
Pain has an element of blank;
From tankards scooped in pearl;
He ate and drank the precious words,
I had no time to hate, because
My little craft was lost!
Whether to isles enchanted
In that immortal copy
The brain without its groove
I’m nobody! Who are you?
To lips long parching, next to mine,
The nearest dream recedes, unrealized.
The shapes, though, were similar,
And that defies me,--as a hand
Hope is the thing with feathers
Refining these impatient ores
On Revolution Day?
Give balm to giants,
Without a quicker blood,
For each ecstatic instant
The martyrs even trod,
And so, upon this wise I prayed,--
As laces just reveal the surge,
The soul unto itself
Surgeons must be very careful
Around a pile of mountains,
Menagerie to me
The mountain at a given distance
Is Heaven a physician?
You left me, sweet, two legacies,--
Alter? When the hills do.
What fortitude the soul contains,
The whole of me, forever,
With half a smile and half a spurn,
You, unsuspecting, wear me too—
I did not love enough.
Where bashful flowers blow,
As if some little Arctic flower,
From spotted nooks,--
Our life, his porcelain,
As if no sail the solstice passed
These fleshless loves met,
The fathoms they abide.
Lips unused to thee,
Of all the souls that stand create
I have no life but this,
For life’s estate with you.
Sweet debt of Life,--each night to owe,
You could hear the bodice tug, behind you,
Then, glancing narrow at the wall,
Wild nights! Wild nights!
With but a single star,
Did the paradise, persuaded,
Her bodice rose and fell,
That image satisfies.
The moon is distant from the sea,
That make the circuit of the rest,
I held a jewel in my fingers
Dungeons may call, and guns implore;
So I, the undivine abode
The exponent of breath.
It was the limit of my dream,
When bumble-bees in solemn flight
Pray gather me, Anemone,
Did they forget thee?
He fumbles at your spirit
You may forget the warmth he gave,
The heart I cherished in my own
My gypsy face transfigured now
Eternity until.”

Works Cited:
Dickinson, Emily. “The Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson.” New York: The Modern Library, 2004.

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