Good Friday with Emily Dickinson

To honor my Christian cultural tradition, I’m not posting much today, other than to share this poem of Emily Dickinson. ED wasn’t a religious poet, but her poems express the kind of spiritual inquiry that I aspire to. (The Bartleby link shows the poem as it was published first after Dickinson’s life, and edited by her publishers. The version I have here is from Johnson’s Complete Poems with reconstructed words and punctuation.)

“To know just how He suffered – would be dear –”

By Emily Dickinson

To know just how He suffered – would be dear –
To know if any Human eyes were near
To whom He could entrust His wavering gaze –
Until it settled firm – on Paradise –

To know if He was patient – part content –
Was Dying as He thought – or different –
Was it a pleasant Day to die –
And did the Sunshine face His way –

What was His furthest mind – Of Home – or God –
Or what the Distant say –
At news that He ceased Human Nature
On such a Day –

And Wishes – Had He Any –
Just His Sigh – Accented –
Had been legible – to Me –
And was He Confident until
Ill fluttered out – in Everlasting Well –

And if He spoke – What name was Best –
What last
What One broke off with
At the Drowsiest –

Was He afraid – or tranquil –
Might He know
How Conscious Consciousness – could grow –
Till Love that was – and Love too best to be –
Meet—and the Junction be Eternity


This video offers a musical rendition of the poem, with music by David Bennett Thomas, performed by The Gregg Smith Singers and organ accompaniment.

This blog has done a lovely job of presenting the poem as published initially. Click through to see.



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