I was going to write on a Christmas-y subject today, but I ran across something that reminded me of an Emily Dickinson poem, and now all I can think of is Dickinson, Dickinson, Dickinson, so that other post will have to wait.
The “something” I ran across was this fabulous quote by Willa Cather, arguably another extremely important woman in the wide scope of American literature, but someone I know considerably less about, and have never personally read:
The fact that I was a girl never damaged my ambitions to be a pope or an emperor.
My mind jumped immediately to what is possibly my favorite Emily Dickinson poem:
No matter — now — Sweet —
But when I’m Earl —
Won’t you wish you’d spoken
To that dull Girl?
Trivial a Word — just —
Trivial — a Smile —
But won’t you wish you’d spared one
When I’m Earl?
I shan’t need it — then —
Crests — will do —
Eagles on my Buckles —
On my Belt — too —
Ermine — my familiar Gown —
Say — Sweet — then
Won’t you wish you’d smiled — just —
— Emily Dickinson – # 704
So, in case you didn’t know this… in case you had the mistaken idea that Emily Dickinson was this depressed, lonely girl who did nothing but dress in white and lock herself up and hide away from the world… read that poem again. Emily Dickinson was a rock star. Her imagination had NO limitations, and she was pretty much one of the smartest people who ever lived. (It’s true… if you don’t understand one of her poems, go back and look EVERY word up in the dictionary, then you’ll want to cry because you’ll see how smart she is.) She was also, obviously, not afraid of female empowerment, and writing freely about it. Not that all of her poems are about her… that’s something you definitely don’t want to assume, especially when she writes about remembering being a young boy, etc.
Okay, I know I fangirl weird things. I do. Emily Dickinson is NOT a normal thing for someone to fangirl. A professor of mine my very first semester of college nipped me with the Dickinson Love bug, though, and there’s no coming back from that.