If we have ever loved a pet or human, we know this to be true. That even after they are gone from this physical realm, they live on in our hearts. If you were to Google quotes about love and life you should be prepared to go down a chasmic rabbit hole, only to emerge weeks later with one great truth- stated a thousand different ways in a myriad of languages, cultures and religions…
“To love and to be loved is the greatest happiness of existence.”Sydney Smith, in Lady Holland’s Memoir (1855), “Of Friendship”
And if ever there was a poignant pregnant line spoken by a character and lived for too short a time by the actor who played him, it is this one.
“Poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”Robin Williams as John Keating in Dead Poets Society
In the first line of her poem, Dickinson likened love to immortality and I have done the same with my poem, while exploring the quality of a life without love, or as in Robin Williams’s case, a life so clouded by depression that one is rendered unable to sustain him/herself. We can survive for a time on all the other things, the scraps, like wealth, recognition, applause, etc., but on the table of life the main dish is love and if we don’t get to partake in and share that, no amount of those other things will ever satiate our souls.
I for one was extremely curious that Jesus actually was rapping back in the day. Could he have been the Original L L Cool J? Cool J’s real name is James and the LL stands for Ladies Love (Cool James). You know how everyone finds religion in prison? Jesus might have been LL Cool Jesus ( Lawbreakers Love Cool Jesus)!
Come to find out, Emily was writing about the other kind of rapping, Jesus rapping or knocking on a door. She goes on to write about how she begins rapping on the door of her beloved’s heart. In this instance, as in many in which Emily writes of an unnamed love, we can assume that the heart she was referring to was that of her beloved best friend and eventual sister-in-law, Susan Dickinson, to whom she is said to have written and hand delivered this poem.
For my version of #317, I decided to visit current events here in the USA and speak to those who probably don’t want to hear what I have to say, but I’ve never been one to shy away from “Good Trouble”. You’ll have to imagine it spoken by a competent rapper, because that I am not.
In the words of the late great human rights activist Representative John Lewis:
“Just so- Jesus raps-“
Just so – so you know
I didn’t look like those pics they show.
But oh hell yeah- I did throw
the temple tables of all of those
making money as religion’s hoes.
Religion should help, religion should support.
Keep your right-wing asses out of court.
Get your feet
out on the street
and minister to people who need to eat.
Take your pro-life banner and tear it up.
Put your money where your mouth is and show my love.
For all the foster kids with no homes-
The vets who on your streets do roam-
The women and men working night and day
who still don’t get enough in pay
to have a decent place to live-
You say you love me, so what gives?
Fix these problems before you stick
your pompous nose in the thick-
of a woman’s inalienable right to pick-
what her own body does and doesn’t do.
Really? Who the hell are you?
It’s not your choice. I’m not your guy.
And if you can’t see the reasons why
I’ve rapped these words,
then your heart is blind.
Love is love. A woman’s body is her own.
Now do my REAL WORK
or shut up and stay home.