No Time

XXII

“I HAD no time to hate, because
The grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.

“Nor had I time to love; but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me.”

— Emily Dickinson

Without Words

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.”
— Emily Dickinson

Reflections of a Self-Titled “Nobody”

XXVII

“I’M nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!”

–Emily Dickinson

What, and who, is a “nobody”?  We have always been told that the secret to success is becoming “somebody” – that our goal should be to seek fame, fortune, and, subsequently, happiness.  And what good are fame and fortune without the ability to share (show them off) with others?  To be a somebody is to be in the public’s eye, and a slave to the opinions of others.  The word “nobody” has always had a more negative connotation – a “nobody” is without friends, without success, and without a future.  A “nobody” is always alone.

I, on the other hand, like to interpret the word “nobody” as being a synonym for the words “unique” or “individual”.  “Somebodies” surround themselves with like-minded people – the polar opposite of being unique.  A “nobody” is an individual, capable of speaking and thinking for themselves.  Of course, according to Emily Dickinson, you are never really alone.  Every time I read this poem, I always picture her asking the questions “who are you”, and “are you nobody, too” of her image in the mirror.  As her reflection is as much a “nobody” as she is, the two of them would make quite the “pair”.  Now, as for her fear of being “banished”: a mirror was often one of the instruments used in banishing spells, according to urban lore.  The reflection would not be the only thing “banished” if the “they”, or “somebodies”, of the poem were successful in doing away with all of the “nobodies”.

In the second part of the poem, a negative slant is placed on the term “somebody” rather than the word “nobody”.  Being a “somebody” is to be “dreary” and a member of the “public” – to be a small part of a group instead of an individual.  You are like a “frog”, a small creature most known for its flashy coloring and loud vocals (much like a jester, or a class clown).  The only way you are able to bring attention to yourself is in what you wear and how loudly you speak – not with what you say.  The image of the “public” is juxtaposed with that of a “bog” (swamp), the natural home for the noisy “frog”.  The “somebody” spends their “livelong days” “telling their name” to this “admiring bog” in hopes of garnering the most attention and popularity – earning a place in the spotlight.

While there is nothing wrong with being a “somebody” (or a “frog”), I am far more content remaining a “nobody”.  I am an individual, with my own thoughts, my own opinions, and my own mind.  I am proud to be a “nobody”, are you?

The Secret (Life of) Bees

CXI

“THE MURMURING of bees has ceased;
But murmuring of some
Posterior, prophetic,
Has simultaneous come,–

The lower metres of the year,
When Nature’s laugh is done,–
The Revelations of the book
Whose Genesis is June.”

–Emily Dickinson

This poem felt most appropriate today: the sun was shining, the temperature was in the upper forty’s, the sky was cloudless.  It was spring without being spring – a precursor to both warmer weather and the siting of new tenants taking up rental space in the hives tucked away up in the darker parts of the shed out back.  Despite the fact that I know the “murmuring of bees has ceased”, I caught myself listening for it, looking for bright spots of yellow among the withered vestiges in my mother’s flower beds.  Could this be the “prophetic” aspect the poet refers to, a “murmuring” heard before it is made – the same voice spoken in the past and future “simultaneous[ly]”?  It is during these “lower metres of the year” – the “posterior” or ending, if you will, of nature’s four seasons – that one has the freedom to reflect on time past.  My February feels like December, and my rain feels like snow (the clouds never seem to change, except to play hiding games with the sun).

I am looking forward to the time of the bees, to the rekindling of “nature’s laugh”.  I wish I could flip to the ending of this season as I can with a “book” – to skip to the end of summer’s “Revelations” as easily as I might with the aforementioned biblical text.  The beginning, or “Genesis”, of the time of the bees is over half a book away, with several chapters between then and now.  In June, I will hear new “murmurings” again.

Are You A Brook Or A Sea?

(Photo response will be posted tomorrow.)

CXIV

“THE SEA said ‘Come’ to the Brook,
The Brook said ‘Let me grow!’
The Sea said ‘Then you will be a Sea —
I want a brook, Come now!'”

–Emily Dickinson

Have you ever felt like a Sea-bound brook?  External influences are telling you that you must conform and fit into a certain mold – that you have more value for what they can make you into than who you already are.  At my old job, I knew that my position, what I did, did not amount to much in the eyes of my employers.  After all, I was easily replaceable: in fact, it was cheaper for the company to hire someone else than to keep me on.  It is a very humbling experience, realizing your ‘true’ place in the bigger scheme of things.  I was a cog in a wheel – a brook in a Sea.

Now when I look for new places of employment, I find myself taking a good look at all of the choices available to me.  Do I want to lose myself, to become lost in another Sea?  Or do I have the courage to stand up and say “Let me grow!”  Perhaps becoming a sea is not in my future, though neither is remaining only a Brook.  I desire the chance to grow, both personally and professionally.  Now is the opportunity to do so.

The Longevity of Words

Today marks my one month blogging anniversary!  I originally wanted to celebrate by taking a break and only posting a favorite poem of mine, but I found myself thinking about the words to the poem too much to simply end my blog there.

LXXXIX

A WORD is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.

— Emily Dickinson

What does speaking a word result in, its death or its birth?  I find myself agreeing with Emily Dickinson in that I believe the moment a word is communicated (be it spoken or written down) it is newly ‘born’, not newly “dead”.  Think about it this way: what I choose to write about in my blog – the words I use – “begin to live” through my writing them down.  The contents of my posts are original, their ‘newness’ constituting a birth of sorts into a ‘new’ medium of expression (from my mind to yours).  Once I publish my blog my words no longer belong solely to me, and can be found growing and evolving (and spreading) with every person that reads them.  My words are alive now, and will continue to live on long after I no longer do.