In researching Emily’s poem #196, I learned that the “Tim” in her poetry is thought to have been an alter-ego of hers. Recognizing as she did, the inequities that existed between girls and boys/males and females during her time, she was often outspoken about them in her home. In public she wasn’t perceived as boyish, but inside her home, by her own family, her behavior was often likened to that of a “rascal boy”. Beginning in 1862 she wrote quite a few poems in a masculine voice.
My Carol and Emily poem #196 is dedicated to a dear friend of mine named Tim, whose physical body left this world far too soon. His spirit still lives on, in his children, grandchildren, family and friends, and precious memories of a really good guy live on in my heart. We miss you Tim ❤
The last time we were together, he took me to see some land he wanted to buy and shared his dream of starting an airboat business, taking tourists for rides on the St. John’s River and through the swamps and marshes of its estuaries. Although that dream was never realized, I can see him with that pirate smile on his face, doing that and thriving, something he spent many post-Vietnam years attempting to do.
Emily must have written poem #188 while she was dreaming of sunshine and warmer days from her chilly bedroom in Amherst, Massachusetts. She seems to opt for skipping Fall and Winter altogether and staying warm while enjoying the life abundant in Spring and Summer. Here in my corner of the world, there’s usually no lack of warmth or sun, so on this beautiful April morning I breakfasted on my lanai and imagined this scene and the romance of discovering that you are considered someone’s sun.
Happy Saturday from Emily and I. May you enjoy and feel both the warmth of someone’s love and the Sun’s warmth, with plenty of sunscreen of course!
Certain places hold sensory and muscle memories, and bring special moments back to mind. The shore and ocean do that for me. As the tides move in and out twice each day, they bring forth and take away, reminding us that life does the same. Today, the first line of Emily’s poem #86 and the South winds blew the briny air and sent seafoam and memories of a past love, dancing across the sand and through my mind.
At this very moment, each of us is either grieving or knows someone who is. Grief isn’t just reserved for one type of situation, event, or loss. We may grieve the loss of a friendship, a job, a home or a loved one. Many of us have been grieving the loss of a way of life for the last 14 months. So much has changed since March 2020 that grief and loss have become our daily companions. The toll on our personal and collective mental health has been massive and the ramifications of this period will be felt for years to come.
There are days when we feel that swimming is impossible. And then all we can do is wade, and hope not to be taken under.
This quote about grief sums it up for me.
At this historic moment, as individuals, and as a country and a world, we wait for a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, and hope that we will not be drowned.
In 1862, poem #319 was one of the 4 poems Emily sent along with a letter to the famed Unitarian minister, abolitionist, and well-known literary critic, Thomas Higginson, in response to his article in the Atlantic Monthly, “Letter To A Young Contributor. ” The article gave advice to young writers and Emily responded with a question for Higginson, wanting to know if he “thought her verse was alive”. That letter was the first exchange in a correspondence that would go on for 23 years.
Everyone needs someone to believe in them. But having that doesn’t always spell success. That recipe is much more complicated, of course. For some, it’s hard to believe in themselves, because of the way they’ve been raised, or just because they’ve never seen or experienced success actually being realized in their corner of the world. They often just need a taste. A taste that tells them it’s real, and that they can have more if they keep working at it. I was reminded of some of my students who struggled in much the same way. So I wrote this Carol and Emily poem…
Of course not literally, but with all the angst I had as a teenager, I spent the majority of my waking hours wondering how we were going to survive the lockdown, quarantine, toilet paper shortage, and general malaise that the Covid-19 virus brought to our lives.
Once again, I was wrong. My husband deserves all the credit for carrying the weight of everything for the first few months until I rose from my funk and started to fully function again. And here we are, over a year later. Many of us are vaccinated and we’re all eager to travel and visit family and hug everyone! There’s so much we’ve all missed. And oh so many who will forever be missing loved ones who died from complications of Covid-19.
The vaccinations have brought us light and hope. Next week, I’m going to get to visit my daughter and grandson for the first time in over 13 months. Believe me, I’m going to hug them for a very long time. We’re so close to managing this. But we’re not there yet. Let’s all be smart. Wear our masks. Get vaccinated. Stay safe.