An Instant’s Act

I think of Emily Dickinson a bit like I do Wallace Stevens. That I ought to like her work more than I do, that perhaps I’m reading it wrong… (Similar to my take on much modern art.)

I take some pleasure in the fact that she too was a New Englander. (Good soil for apples and writers?) She’s also another reminder that the right words can cause a furor even if their writer was a recluse.

Apparently she had been quite the gardener in the odd hours when few people were about. A few years ago I met a college friend in NYC and we went to the New York Botanical Garden‘s exhibit on Emily Dickinson’s garden. It was not the best set up for photography, but it was very lovely.

This is one of my favorite pieces of hers, it speaks to me more than most of the others.

 

Crumbling is not an instant’s Act

by Emily Dickinson

 

Crumbling is not an instant’s Act

A fundamental pause

Dilapidation’s processes

Are organized Decays.

 

‘Tis first a Cobweb on the Soul

A Cuticle of Dust

A Borer in the Axis

An Elemental Rust—

 

Ruin is formal—Devil’s work

Consecutive and slow—

Fail in an instant, no man did

Slipping—is Crash’s law.

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