Friday, 19 May 2017

Emily Dickinson - Because I Could Not Stop for Death

Tonight I saw the film A Quiet Passion!  Cynthia Nixon was deeply convincing in the role of the central protagonist, Emily Dickinson. The interaction and conflict within this close-knit family was spellbinding, although distressing especially towards the end of the film which showed Nixon's fine exploration of how Emily must have suffered due to Bright's Disease.

Hard enough for her to have suffered from the derision heaped upon her for being a woman-poet. Only 7 of her poems were published in her lifetime.

The film ended with her poem, 497, Because I Could Not Stop for Death. There can't have been a dry eye in the theatre!

Sad to say, this poem was published posthumously. She never knew that one day she would be so admired and held in such high esteem.

Because I could not stop for Death – 
He kindly stopped for me –  
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –  
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility – 

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –  
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –  
We passed the Setting Sun – 

Or rather – He passed us – 
The Dews drew quivering and chill – 
For only Gossamer, my Gown – 
My Tippet – only Tulle – 

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground – 
The Roof was scarcely visible – 
The Cornice – in the Ground – 

Since then – ‘tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads 
Were toward Eternity – 

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