Great Storm Is Over

Is it? Hope so. Or perhaps . . . a little stirring in the trees.

I have noticed that some folks trip across this blog because they are googling for an explanation of one of Emily’s poems. (No doubt grasping at straws in the middle of a Freshman Comp paper.) I am sorry to disappoint. No real explanations here. Mainly a deepening of the mystery or a detour into something just as circuitous.

Here we go again:

#619, c. 1862

Glee — The great storm is over —
Four — have recovered the Land —
Forty — gone down together —
Into the boiling Sand —

Ring — for the Scant Salvation —
Toll — for the bonnie Souls —
Neighbor — and friend — and Bridegroom —
Spinning upon the Shoals —

How they will tell the Story —
When Winter shake the Door —
Till the Children urge —
But the Forty —
Did they — come back no more?

Then a softness — suffuse they Story —
And a silence — the Teller’s eye —
And the Children — no further question —
And only the Sea — reply —

Here we pick up the pieces and wonder what’s left after the wind has settled. Is it really over? Is that it? She asks the same thing I am wondering. If the story itself has to subside before a thing is really done, then whatever it was that roiled before her eyes, continues to exist until the storytelling part—the noise bouncing off the echo chamber of memory—peters out. Then . . . nothing.

In fact, it is the prospect of nothing that often keeps the story going long past its natural death. No one wants to face the silence of no story. Few of us have the confidence that Something. Else. Follows. Nothing.

Even Emily, whose mind is as fine and sturdy a government as any, has to admit that some must slip away into silence beyond the gates of her fully imagined inner world. Some things she has to let slip into the sea and allow to be replaced with silence.


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