abstraction–like a poem

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise

As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind—

Emily Dickinson penned these words in 1868. I believe she was grappling with how to bring important things forward into human awareness. She used what she saw in nature as sign posts for bigger ideas. She was therefore an abstractionist, looking for simple indicators that could tease the way forward for blind men. Reading through her poems I catch her spirit though we live in such different times. She was not didactic, but she was determined.

Yesterday, as I was lying on an exam bed, the scanner moving back and forth above me, my eyes looked to the wall at an image similar to this. Here, like with Emily’s words, is a suggestion that dazzles gradually. Images are “quick talk” without words, and language (we are given to expect, or we are deaf as well) holds meaning.


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