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
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.
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.
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