Friday, September 28, 2007

Vanishing Point

That’s the name of a poem of mine recently accepted by Blackbird, one of my favorite litmags. It’s been a dry spell for acceptances so I’m taking that as a good omen. The title is also appropriate as I’m vanishing for a month, taking four weeks (four weeks!) off from my job to stay home and write: “my own private Yaddo,” as a friend of mine calls it. My plan is to generate as much new work as possible and worry about revision later. Ideally I'd like to finish a draft of a new manuscript I've been working on. I am going to try not to get distracted by the house remodeling we’re in the middle of, nor by preparing for my upcoming brief panel presentation at AWP on poetry and religion. I will say that “Vanishing Point” is a poem that fits right into that topic! But here’s a poem by Emily Dickinson that fits even better. One thing that makes the poem so great, I think, is that 150 years after Dickinson wrote it, it’s still hard to say if it’s a poem about the glory of creation or the terror of a lonely, chaotic universe—or both.

721

Behind Me—dips Eternity—
Before Me—Immortality—
Myself—the Term between—
Death but the Drift of Eastern Gray,
Dissolving into Dawn away,
Before the West begin—

’Tis Kingdoms—afterward—they say—
In perfect—pauseless Monarchy—
Whose Prince—is Son of None—
Himself—His Dateless Dynasty—
Himself—Himself diversify—
In Duplicate divine—

’Tis Miracle before Me—then—
’Tis Miracle behind—between—
A Crescent in the Sea—
With Midnight to the North of Her—
And Midnight to the South of Her—
And Maelstrom—in the Sky—

—Emily Dickinson

4 comments:

Anne said...

Congratulations! I love Blackbird.

Diane K. Martin said...

Bon vacance ( a good working vacance, that is)! Is that picture in Monterey?

Robert said...

Thanks, Anne! Thanks, Diane! Actually I stole the picture from a Google search for "vanishing point." It seemed to fit the themes of vacation and the Dickinson poem both.

KATE EVANS said...

My own private yaddo...I want one of those.

Love me that Emily.