Today kick’s off National Poetry Month.
Dr. Jessie Fields and Harry Kresky will curate a selection of their favorite political poems for us starting on April 15th. I hope that you will all join in and share your favorite political poems as well.
To kick off the month, Jessie Fields, a poet, physician and independent leader shares a poem that she revisited while reading Revolutionary.
Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)
I’m ceded — I’ve stopped being Their’s —
The name They dropped upon my face
With water, in the country church
Is finished using, now,
And They can put it with my Dolls,
My childhood, and the string of spools,
I’ve finished threading — too —
Baptized, before, without the choice,
But this time, consciously, of Grace —
Unto supremest name —
Called to my Full — The Crescent dropped —
Existence’s whole Arc, filled up,
With one small Diadem.
My second Rank — too small the first —
Crowned — Crowing — on my Father’s breast —
A half unconscious Queen —
But this time — Adequate — Erect,
With Will to choose, or to reject,
And I choose, just a Crown —
Here is what Jessie has to say about this poem:
Soon after reading the novel Revolutionary, I came across this poem by Emily Dickinson and thought it relevant to the difficult choices available to women such as Deborah Samson. Though Emily Dickinson lived a secluded life in her father’s house in Amherst, Massachusetts, she was a poet of great power and she maintained an active, diverse and intimate correspondence with many friends and relatives. She sometimes included poems in her letters and the first line of one of her poems reads, “This is my letter to the world that never wrote to me”.
As a student at Bryn Mawr College in 1975 I heard the poet Adrienne Rich (1929 -2012) give a lecture on Emily Dickinson. Included near the end of the lecture which I have lately re-read is the statement, “It is as though the poet’s existence can be put to some use beyond her own survival.” Emily Dickinson’s 1,775 poems were found in a locked trunk in her room shortly after her death. Speaking to her niece Martha in this room in which she wrote and read Dickinson said, “Matty: here’s freedom.”
Here is a short quote from a poem “For Memory”, from the book A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far by Adrienne Rich
“Freedom. It isn’t once, to walk out under the Milky Way, feeling the rivers of light, the fields of dark—freedom is daily, prose-bound, routine remembering. Putting together, inch by inch the starry worlds. From all the lost collections.”