The Untutored Heart

Good morning.  Sweltering day.  It’s getting so I can’t even sit on the porch anymore.  Drat.  I have come to rely on this space.  The heat makes me write faster because I can’t wait to return to the refuge of the air conditioning.

here goes:  #743, c. 1863

The Birds reported from the South—
A News express to Me—
A spicy Charge, My little Posts —
But I am deaf — Today —

The Flowers — appealed — a timid Throng—
I reinforced the Door—
Go Blossom to the Bees — I said —
And trouble Me — no More—

The Summer Grace, for Notice strove —
Remote — Her best Array —
The Heart — to stimulate the Eye
Refused too utterly —

At length, a Mourner, like Myself,
She drew away austere —
Her frosts to ponder — then it was
I recollected Her —

She suffered Me, for I had mourned —
I offered Her no word —
My witness — was the Crape I bore —
Her — Witness — was Her Dead —

Thenceforward — We — together dwelt —
I never questioned Her —
Our Contract
A Wiser Sympathy

It’s interesting for me work out these poems because I find myself rolling them  between my  hands like clay rather than reading them straight through and trying to wrestle them into submission.  This one threw a shot of light to my eye when I was writing it into my notebook.  When I saw the words on the page, I read them top to bottom instead of left to right.

“The Summer Grace, for Notice strove—

Remote — Her best Array —

The Heart — to stimulate the Eye

Refused too utterly —”

From reading this down not across, I get “Remote the Heart Refused too utterly.”  Then it seemed the uppercase “Her” is Mother Nature herself, not a literal, flesh-clothed woman.  Emily is aligning herself in concert with Nature and her movement from blossom to frost-covered death.

When I return to “Remote the Heart Refused too utterly,” I close in on “too”.  Why not just “utterly”?  That would make the point.  No, Em says “too utterly”.  The angry heart has gone too far, refused too much.  Closed the door to life with too extreme a renunciation.  A little melodrama, perhaps?  Surely, spring will come again.  It always has in the past.  Or this is the strength and the passion of a girl’s heart that knows no moderation.  Has no experience to measure its pain against and so goes too far.  This is all the heart knows.  An untutored heart cannot anticipate some other life beyond the moment at once.  This is the hearth’s truth.  

Emily plunges into this truth without hesitation or fear.  Some might call her reckless.  She would call herself “too utterly”.  Funny, she knows she’s going too far.  But that doesn’t slow her down a bit.  This, too, is the way of girls.

We’d be awfully bored without them.

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