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Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: There's a certain slant of light

March 27th, 2009 (07:11 am)
thirsty

Current Mood: thirsty
Current Song: Say It Again by Marie Digby

There's a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.

None may teach it anything,
'Tis the seal, despair,-
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.

When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, 't is like the distance
On the look of death.
- by Emily Dickinson

What Light

The opening line of this poem makes me think of my cat's love of sunlight, especially when it would stream down through our kitchen blinds and onto the carpet, creating beautifully lit lines upon which she'd arrange herself just so: a brown rectangle of fur and happiness set perfectly within a bright rectangle of carpet. Oh, how that cat smiled.

Many thanks to Susan Taylor Brown, whose comment upon this post made me share that very personal (and very happy) memory.

Other Notes

This poem inspired the title of Laura Whitcomb's novel A Certain Slant of Light, a wonderful ghost story which I posted about this past Wednesday for OSWT. Learn more about the novel.

View all posts tagged as Emily Dickinson at Bildungsroman.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

Consult the Poetry Friday roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

Comments

Posted by: Jama Rattigan (jamarattigan)
Posted at: March 27th, 2009 02:34 pm (UTC)

What a beautiful, gorgeous poem!! Always loved it! Thanks for sharing it today.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 27th, 2009 02:42 pm (UTC)

Thanks for reading. :)

Posted by: kellyrfineman (kellyrfineman)
Posted at: March 27th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
Emily Dickinson

Gotta love Emily.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 27th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC)

Yay, icon!

Posted by: Shari Green (sharigreen)
Posted at: March 27th, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC)

Such a pleasure to read this poem again. Thanks for posting it!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 27th, 2009 06:35 pm (UTC)

Thanks for reading and for commenting!

Posted by: Rosemary (rclementmoore)
Posted at: March 27th, 2009 05:52 pm (UTC)

I love that poem. That's for posting it today. Sometimes you post stuff I've never read, sometimes it's like rediscovering something when I see it here.

(Going to read more Dickinson now.)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 27th, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)

I am touched that you read my posts, let alone that they inspire you to rediscover things - and all the more smiley right now because, as I type this, your newest book happens to be beside my keyboard, waiting for me to bring it home for reading next week. :)

Posted by: Susan Taylor Brown (susanwrites)
Posted at: March 27th, 2009 10:23 pm (UTC)

I so enjoyed being reminded of this poem. Thank you.

So much depends upon a certain slant of life and a willingness to see.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 27th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)

Thank you in return!

This poem makes me think of Twinkie's love of sunlight when it would stream down through our kitchen blinds and down onto the carpet, creating beautifully lit lines, upon which she'd arrange herself just so, a brown rectangle of fur and happiness set perfectly within a bright rectangle of carpet.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 28th, 2009 09:47 am (UTC)
Tanita Says :)

The idea of a good pain -- "heavenly hurt" is like a cherished memory, which it seems you have. A smiling cat! Lovely.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 28th, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Tanita Says :)

Such a beautiful cat. She definitely smiled, and when happy, it WAS a happy smile, not like that of the Cheshire Cat.

Posted by: Melissa Walker (mewalker1999)
Posted at: March 30th, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)

What a lovely poem to share. I have a certain slant of light in my living room right now... and what meaning this gives it.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 30th, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC)

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun
And I say
It's all right

:)

Enjoy the afternoon light, Melissa.

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