This morning Emily offers another Valentine poem, dated 1852. She’s in a more playful mood, pitting herself and the mysteries of the moon and the stars against the “Hill of Science.” My favorite lines: “It was brave Columbus/ A sailing o’er the tide/ Who notified the nation/ Of where I would reside!”
I can’t help but experience her tone as a little snotty here. Suggesting that the men who think they “discover” the planet are deluded. It was there all the time! The “notified”, the italicized was, the cute exclamation point at the end. I hear it again in the line: “Three cheers, sir, for the gentleman/ Who first observed the moon!”
She is having sport with crusty old Columbus and all that he represents. The folly of men who think they know the score, who think they’re in charge of the planet and everyone on it.
She concludes with a vision of her own body reduced to ashes. Trust Em to start cute and end deadly. In this same stanza she bids farewell to some unnamed “Sir”, a friend.
The moon is still here. Emily and Columbus are long gone. That was her point, I guess. The ridiculousness of thinking our lives or our “discoveries” have any impact at all on this great chunk of rock we cling to for our little bit of time.
This was her idea of a Valentine poem. I worry about Emily sometimes. Is she happy, I wonder? Does she have friends? Or even go out? Why the morbid thoughts?
I am rearranging the furniture in my head around this project: The Emily Every Day Project. Now, I’m thinking I’ll not take these in chronological order, but skip to the meat of the book. Her most productive year was 1862, a hundred years before my birth. Maybe I’ll go straight there and skip the juvenilia. I like it, but I know the juicy stuff comes later, much later. It will take me years to get to it at this rate.
I am impatient. Come to think of it, my impatience is the whole reason I wanted to create a meditation practice for myself in the first place. See, now I am already disrupting the process, changing it to suit my accelerated metabolism.
Then again this is my project.
I can do whatever I want. I’m a grown-up.