Ten good lines out of four hundred, Emily—comparatively good, that is—and all the rest balderdash—balderdash, Emily.""I—suppose so," said Emily faintly.Her eyes brimmed with tears—her lips quivered. She could not help it. Pride was hopelessly submerged in the bitterness of her disappointment. She felt exactly like a candle that somebody had blown out."What are you crying for? demanded Mr. Carpenter.Emily blinked away tears and tried to laugh."I—I'm sorry—you think it's no good—" she said.Mr. Carpenter gave the desk a mighty thump."No good! Didn't I tell you there were ten good lines? Jade, for ten righteous men Sodom had been spared.""Do you mean—that—after all—" The candle was being relighted again."Of course, I mean. If at thirteen you can write ten good lines, at twenty you'll write ten times ten—if the gods are kind. Stop messing over months, though—and don't imagine you're a genius, either, if you have written ten decent lines. I think there's something trying to speak through you—but you'll have to make yourself a fit instrument for it. You've got to work hard and sacrifice—by gad, girl, you've chosen a jealous goddess. And she never lets her votaries go—not even when she shuts her ears forever to their plea.
They call each other `E.’ Elvis pickswildflowers near the river and bringsthem to Emily. She explains half-rhymes to him.In heaven Emily wears her hair long, sportsLevis and western blouses with rhinestones.Elvis is lean again, wears baggy trousersand T-shirts, a letterman’s jacket from Tupelo High.They take long walks and often hold hands.She prefers they remain just friends. Forever.Emily’s poems now contain naugahyde, Cadillacs,Electricity, jets, TV, Little Richard and RichardNixon. The rock-a-billy rhythm makes her smile.Elvis likes himself with style. This afternoonhe will play guitar and sing “I Taste A LiquorNever Brewed” to the tune of “Love Me Tender.”Emily will clap and harmonize. Alonein their cabins later, they’ll listen to the riverand nap. They will not think of Amherstor Las Vegas. They know why God made themroommates. It’s because Americawas their hometown. It’s becauseGod is a thing withoutfeathers. It’s becauseGod wears blue suede shoes.
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,And Mourners to and froKept treading – treading – till it seemedThat Sense was breaking through – And when they all were seated,A Service, like a Drum – Kept beating – beating – till I thoughtMy Mind was going numb – And then I heard them lift a BoxAnd creak across my SoulWith those same Boots of Lead, again,Then Space – began to toll,As all the Heavens were a Bell,And Being, but an Ear,And I, and Silence, some strange RaceWrecked, solitary, here – And then a Plank in Reason, broke,And I dropped down, and down – And hit a World, at every plunge,And Finished knowing – then –
What’s that around your neck?” asked Emily. “It’s a golden star.” Said Reed.“What did you get it for?”“Chemistry class.”“What’s the star for?” the shadow asked, Usually stars represent a straight A student. “You get it for having greatness. But Emily doesn’t know what that is.” He said, answering the shadows question and looking at Emily. “Greatness, what’s greatness?” Emily asked, all wide eyed, and clueless looking“It’s when you do really awesome stuff, and people recognize you for it.”“Oh, no” Emily laughed .”No, I don’t know what that is.
It was not, of course, a proper thing to do. But then I have never pretended, nor will ever pretend, that Emily was a proper child. Books are not written about proper children. They would be so dull nobody would read them.
The Truth must dazzle graduallyOr every man be blind - Emily Dickinson
The Poets light but Lamps-Themselves-go out-
The following year the house was substantially remodeled, and the conservatory removed. As the walls of the now crumbling wall were being torn down, one of the workmen chanced upon a small leatherbound book that had apparently been concealed behind a loose brick or in a crevice in the wall. By this time Emily Dickinson was a household name in Amherst. It happened that this carpenter was a lover of poetry- and hers in particular- and when he opened the little book and realized that that he had found her diary, he was “seized with a violent trembling,” as he later told his grandson. Both electrified and terrified by the discovery, he hid the book in his lunch bucket until the workday ended and then took it home. He told himself that after he had read and savored every page, he would turn the diary over to someone who would know how to best share it with the public. But as he read, he fell more and more deeply under the poet’s spell and began to imagine that he was her confidant. He convinced himself that in his new role he was no longer obliged to give up the diary. Finally, having brushed away the light taps of conscience, he hid the book at the back of an oak chest in his bedroom, from which he would draw it out periodically over the course of the next sixty-four years until he had virtually memorized its contents. Even his family never knew of its existence. Shortly before his death in 1980 at the age of eighty-nine, the old man finally showed his most prized possession to his grandson (his only son having preceded him in death), confessing that his delight in it had always been tempered by a nagging guilt and asking that the young man now attempt to atone for his grandfather’s sin. The grandson, however, having inherited both the old man’s passion for poetry and his tendency towards paralysis of conscience, and he readily succumbed to the temptation to hold onto the diary indefinitely while trying to decide what ought to be done with it.
Emily squared her shoulders and said simply, “I’m fine, I’m not really loving your social skills though. Don’t you know this is no way to start a conversation?” Emily’s mouth clamped shut at the expression on the monsters face.
Tell the truth, but tell it slant.