December 10 was Emily Dickinson's birthday in 1830. I don't
like very many of her poems -- a recent attempt to become more
familiar with her work quickly ended in boredom and frustration --
but I know that her simplicity and apparent sincerity are appealing
Dickinson is best when she is surprising, as in today's poem
There's a certain Slant of light.... You've probably heard that
she spent most of her life in her room on the second story of her father's
house in Amherst, Massachusettes. It is easy to picture her fancy
turning, on one of countless winter afternoons, to the similarity of
slanting sunlight to beams of light through high church windows. But
to transfer that image to the parallel weight of organ music wafting
through a cathedral is, I think, very fine.
It is interesting that Emily, a dabbling Congrationalist, may well have
been unfamiliar, or only vaguely familiar, with cathedral churches.