The poetry teacher at the community college said if she lived in the attic like Emily Dickinson, she too could write immortal poetry. But she’s got to be outside, she said; out there, in here, in the classroom, doing something, making some observable contribution now rather than later, in life rather than after death. I don’t know whether she feels internally or externally obligated to be out there doing something. Perhaps she fears the uncertainty of a life where meaning must be found constantly, every moment, because it is not handed over semi-gratis by a taxable but untenable profession with a tenuous title. Maybe it dismays her to look at the empty page and know that the only way she can find any fulfillment is to fill it. That the only way she can give tenable meaning to her untaxable life is to create it herself, unaided and unpaid. Dickinson, and all the other poets who have faced that blank page full on without fall back, must have courage and resilience. It takes courage to rely solely on your own powers of creativity. It takes resilience to pursue what cannot be overtaken, to run a race with no finish, with no one line to cross but the never visible yet always present line that separates you from another.
Hard rain on the roof
Resounding through the May night
A small bird singing