Discernment revealed in the Dashes

This is the last week of my poetry class.  When I began the class, I had a mix of attitudes.  On the one hand, I view poetry as a pompous, stuffy professor.  He has a lot to say, but is all dressed up for the part.  Yet, there is something thrilling about stumbling upon that line that tickles your senses, draws you in, and invites you to unravel the mystery within the lines. 

Our final project was to either create an anthology of poems either by author or by theme/style, or write our own poem.  From the beginning of class I began compiling Frost poetry, his biographical information, etc.  Aside from him being one of my favorite poets, he has this singular talent for using the imagery from everyday New England farm life to unravel the depth of our human nature. 

But last week, I read a poem by Dickinson, “The Soul selects her own Society”.  It was a thought provoking poem, from a poet who provoked a lot of negative thoughts in me.  Her dashes and unorthodox capitalization, reminded me too much of that stuffy professor.  As we studied her last week, I gained a new insight.  Begrudging at first, but then the meaning of her poetry expanded as I began understanding her. 

As I was taking a shower, (where all great ideas germinate) a different take on her poem unfolded in my head.  So I sat down and wrote it out, then I rearranged, and tweaked it, interjected alliteration, purposefully changed the rhythm and meter…It was an eye opening experience.  The objective of the project was to include the various poetry devices we’ve learned throughout the semester within our poem.  But as I began doing it, my understanding grew of how powerful these devices are.  Dickinson’s dashes became more than an ornate feather in her hat, but a nail driven precisely into the poem.  It had purpose, it had meaning, and it added depth.  The “doing it” versus the “discussing it” was potent. 

How true is that of our own lives and how we interact with people? We sit back and we judge, we assume, we advise without really understanding.  But once we actually get into the doing, when we get our hands into it, then we really begin to understand. 

I will leave you with the poem, and a question.  What have you bit into assuming it would taste one way, and were surprised to find out it tasted quite different?


Society selects her own Souls

Then callously closes the door

Plastic grins on granite faces

Mime “Welcome – all the more”


The Emperor implores – Communion

With heartfelt hate upon his throne

Manufactured masks look down

From icy windowpanes


Unmoving arms encircle us

Sing praises to He, Me, ME!

Unmasked – Aghast! – It’s revealed at last

They’re the ones not Chosen




  1. Hi, lovely poem, thanks for sharing.
    Bit into? sushi, the taste really surprised me, actually disappointed me.

    Thank you so much for dropping a line on my last post, flying to me is a scary business, but I have flown a lot, specially in smaller aircraft in the line of duty as a police detective. That include helicopter and smaller fixed wing. Those were ok coz I was right there where the thing is flown, so I now what is going on, what scares me is not knowing what is going on in the bigger aircraft, not being in charge sort of.

    Anyway, I have a fabulous flight simulator at home, so I enjoy my flying right here on my pc where I cannot kill myself, or someone else, yet I can experience the delight of flying. funny thing is, I love airplanes.

    Have a super day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: