(Dec. 10, 1830 - May 15, 1886)
Emily Dickinson was a
reclusive, unknown poet who lived in the middle of the nineteenth century. She was
unpublished in her lifetime, preferring to wait for fame posthumously. Sure of her own
place in history to come, she waited for the world to discover the beauty and wisdom of a
master craftsman. Unhappy with the worlds imprisoned word meanings, she needed but a
simple lexicon to fashion her new gems, her crystals of reflected word meanings,
glistening in light and color. Living only for beauty and only for truth. she haunts us
today with eerily beautiful and mysterious poetry from deep within her mind and soul.
All of the poems in this chapter are taken from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas Johnson, 1st copyright 1890. First we will look at Emily's prophecy of her own death.
Emily Prophecies her own death
ED#24 There is a morn by men unseen
1858 Whose maids upon remoter green
Keep their Seraphic May
And all day long, with dance and game,
And gambol I may never name
Employ their holiday.
Here to light measure, move the feet
Which walk no more the village street
Nor by the wood are found
Here are the birds that sought the sun
When last years distaff idle hung
And summers brows were bound.
Neer saw I such a wondrous scene
Neer such a ring on such a green
As if the stars some summer night
Should swing their cups of Chrysolite
And revel till the day
Like thee to dance like thee to sing
People upon the mystic green
I ask, each May Morn.
I wait thy far, fantastic bells
Announcing me in other dells
Unto the different dawn!
This poem was written early in Emilys career in 1858. The "maids upon remoter green" are angelic transports (seraphic) to the next world. Emily asks the seraphs "each new May morn" if they are ready to come and take her so she can join them and play with them "all day long," with "dance and game." She asks these angels for passage to the next world "remoter green" each and "every new May morn" because she knows she is to die in May, but doesnt know what year.
ED #50 I havent told my garden yet
1858 Lest that should conquer me.
I havent quite the strength now
To break it to the Bee
I will not name it in the street
For shops would stare at me
That one so shy so ignorant
Should have the face to die.
The hillsides must now know it
Where I have rambled so
Nor tell the loving forests
The day that I shall go
Nor lisp it at the table
heedless by the way
Hint that within the Riddle
One will walk today
In #50, Emily doesnt tell her "garden," the "Bee," the "hillsides," or the "forests" because the foreknowledge of her death is a secret, but she foretells that someone "will walk in" or solve the riddle someday.
ED #160 Just lost, when I was saved!
1858 Just felt the world go by!
Just girt me for the onset with Eternity,
When breath blew back,
And on the other side
I heard recede the disappointed tide!
Therefore, as One returned, I feel
Odd secrets of the line to tell!
Some Sailor, skirting foreign shores
Some pale Reporter, from the awful doors
Before the Seal!
Next time, to stay!
Next time, the things to see
By Ear unheard,
Unscrutinized by Eye
Next time, to tarry,
While the Ages steal
Slow tramp the Centuries,
And the Cycles wheel!
Here, Emily goes to heaven, the place where ear has not heard and eye has not seen what God has prepared (New Test. KJV Bible) for His children, just as Enoch and some other prophets have, to receive a revelation of certain aspects of future history. Since Emily has wanted to go and stay in heaven, she is disappointed when she returns and is lost when almost saved by being returned from heaven after having been taken there. After having received her revelation and returning she has "odd secrets of the line to tell!" She is a terrified at what she has seen (see #443 regarding Bomb) and thus is a "pale Reporter" of the events she has witnessed before the "Seal" of Revelation. She consoles herself because she knows that "next time" she goes to heaven, she will have died and will be able to "stay" for good, some May day.
ED #412 I read my sentence steadily
1862 Reviewed it with my eyes,
To see that I made no mistake
In its extremest clause
The Date, and manner, of the shame
And then the Pious form
That "God have mercy" on the Soul
The Jury voted Him
I made my soul familiar with her extremity
That at the last, it should not be a novel Agony
But she, and Death, acquainted
Meet tranquilly, as friends
Salute, and pass, without a Hint
And there, the Matter ends
In #412, Emily "reads her sentence," which is her death sentence. She reads it over and over to be sure of "the Date and manner" of her death which is seen as a "shame" to those of this life. She turns the experience over in her mind to "familiarize" her soul with death, which is the most "extreme" of circumstances. She becomes "acquainted" or comfortable with the idea of dyeing and she continues on, "tranquilly" turning to other things.
ED #443 I tie my Hat I crease my Shawl
1862 Lifes little duties do precisely
As the very least
Were infinite to me
I put new Blossoms in the Glass
And throw the old away
I push a petal from my Gown
That anchored there I weigh
The time twill be till six oclock
I have so much to do
And yet Existence some way back
Stopped struck my ticking through
We cannot put Ourself away
As a completed Man
Or Woman When the Errands done
We came to Flesh upon
There may be Miles on Miles of Nought
Of Action sicker far
To simulate is stinging work
To cover what we are
From Science and from Surgery
Too Telescopic Eyes
To bear on us unshaded
For their sake not for Ours
Twould start them
We could tremble
But since we got a Bomb
And held it in our Bosom
Nay Hold it it is calm
Therefore we do lifes labor
Though lifes Reward be done
With scrupulous exactness
To hold our Senses on
In #443, Emily stands in front of a mirror exactly "tying her hat" and "creasing her shawl" to distract herself from the terror of her revelation and to keep busy because "lifes Reward," her poetry and prophecy, are now completed. She weighs the "time twill be till six oclock" because that will be the hour of her death for which she will wait patiently, as her primary service to God "her Errand" which "she came to Flesh upon" is complete. She understands that between "errands" there is a lot of waiting and occupying of oneself during "Miles on Miles of Nought." She feels she has to pretend or "simulate" to "cover what" she is because she knows that the worldly and dissecting eyes of scientists and doctors (surgery) would be startled and shaken (Twould start them) by the realities with which she has lived her life. And she doesnt want to disturb their restricted, overly skeptical world view when that same world possesses "a Bomb"-- nuclear implied, we can guess. (discussed later)
ED #1422 Summer has two Beginnings
1877 Beginning once in June
Beginning in October
Without, perhaps, the Riot
But graphicker for Grace
As finer is a going
Than a remaining Face
Departing then forever
Forever until May
Forever is deciduous
Except to those who die
In #1422, Emily states that summer has two beginnings "once in June" in the northern hemisphere and once in October in the southern hemisphere. She then reflects that summers grace is best appreciated in its leaving, rather than its coming. She switches gears to human life and death, and decides that death is finer than her remaining errand-less life, she is just "a remaining face" that endures until a future May takes her in death forever to where there are no "deciduous" cycles of birth and decay, just ever expanding realms of infinity.
ED #1737 Rearrange a "Wifes" affection!
When they dislocate my Brain!
Amputate my freckled bosom!
Make me bearded like a man!
Blush, my spirit, in thy Fastness
Blush, my unacknowledged clay
Seven years of troth have taught thee
More than Wifehood ever may!
Love that never leaped its socket
Trust entrenched in narrow pain
Constancy thro fire awarded
Anguish bare of anodyne!
Burden borne so far triumphant
None suspect me of the crown,
For I wear the "Thorns" till Sunset
Then my Diadem put on.
Big my Secret but its bandaged
It will never get away
Till the Day its Weary Keeper
Leads it through the Grave to thee.
In #1737, Emily describes her loneliness and lack of human recognition (unacknowledged clay) during her life of her self-sacrifice in the flesh. Her "errand" is a lonely "burden borne so far triumphant." "None suspect" her of her "crown" of chosen-ness to do Gods most important work. Like the great Prophets of Old, the glorious crown feels sometimes like Jesus painful crown, of sacrificial "Thorns." Notice, Emily wears her crown of thorns till sunset, which will accompany her death sometime in May at 6 oclock pm. Her "secret" ministry is bandaged because it has caused a wound that cannot be shown to anyone yet and so it is "bandaged" to conceal itself. Her secret is "Big" and she vows to never let it get away "until the Day its Weary Keeper," "leads it through the Grave to" an unspecified "Thee"; the reader, we presume.
We will soon discuss some of her "Big" secrets hidden in her poetry. The following quote is from her brothers (Austin) diary on the day of her death. Unaware of Emilys "secrets", Austin writes:
May 15, 1886 "The day was awful. She ceased to
breathe that terrible breathing just
before the whistles sounded for six"
(Quote from Richard B. Sewells,
The Life of Emily Dickinson.)
One can be quite sure that the sun was setting when Emily died at 6 p.m. in May, 1886. Note that Emily prophesied the month and hour of her death in poems written nearly thirty years (1858) prior to the event. This is a demonstration of the validity of her prophetic revelations.
Emily tells us in her poetry that she has a special "errand" to do. The following poems shed some light on this idea.
E.D. #85 "They have not chosen me," he said,
1859 "But I have chosen them!"
Brave Broken hearted statement
Uttered in Bethlehem!
I could not have told it,
But since Jesus dared
Sovereign! Know a Daisy
Thy dishonor shared!
From somewhere, Emily (Daisy) gets the information that Jesus chose his lifes mission for himself, rather than having it been chosen for him by somebody else. Emily says she "could not have told" this truth, which applies to herself as well, unless Jesus "dared" to say it first to lead the way. Chosen and elect are nearly the same word meaning and throughout scripture are symbolized by the wearing of a "crown" as it is here in Emilys circumstance as well. Gods royalty is nothing like mans royalty though, for the "greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is servant of all" and it is "the meek who will inherit the earth."
ED #356 The Day that I was crowned
1862 Was like the other Days
Until the Coronation came
And then t'was Otherwise
As Carbon in the Coal
And Carbon in the Gem
Are One and yet the former
Were dull for Diadem
I rose, and all was plain
But when the Day declined
Myself and It, in Majesty
Were equally adorned
The Grace that I was chose
To Me surpassed the Crown
That was the Witness for the Grace
Twas even that t'was Mine
Before going any further, lets examine the use of the word "crown" within scripture.
Genesis. 49:26 The blessing of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren. (Joseph)
Leviicus. 8:9 And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the LORD commanded Moses.
Isaiah 28:5 In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people, (the remnants)
Mark.15:17 And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,
1Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (The chief Shepherd Melchizedek crowns those who elect to do Gods will)
Revelation 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Revelation 6:2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. (Melchizedek wears a crown and is called the Elect One on Enoch)
Revelation 14:14 having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. (Again, Melchizedek the reaper of the harvest)
Wisdom 5:16 Therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom, and a beautiful crown from the Lords hand: for with his right hand shall he cover them, and with his arm shall he protect them.
The crown symbolizes those whom elect and choose Gods Way as their own. Royalty in the Kingdom of heaven translates into suffering and persecution in the upside down Kingdoms of men. Lets now return to the discussion of Emilys Errand.
In #356, Emily receives her crown. She has been chosen for a task of great importance to the development of the kingdom of heaven on earth and in the heart. Her poetry teaches about, and reveals in beauty, the kingdom of heaven within. In addition, she carries some explicit information regarding events of the latter days, but more about her Errand first:
ED #528 Mine by the Right of the White Election!
1862 Mine by the Royal Seal!
Mine by the Sign in the Scarlet prison
Bars Cannot conceal!
Mine here in vision and in Veto!
Mine by the Graves Repeal
Mine long as Ages steal!
Excerpts are from the book, "The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand" by Ed Roache.