Saturday, April 24, 2010

Because I could not stop for Death

I watched Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanours on Friday, and there was a magic moment where the annoying middle class characters were quoting a favourite Emily Dickinson poem.

Because Allen is mocking them in the scene, it is kind of odd that I would want to join in their conversation by pasting the poem here, because I'm basically condemning myself along with them. But hey maybe if I'm all self-conscious about it this will pass as some kind of ironic pastiche. ohhhhh post-modernism, how helpful you are when I need to get around the difficulties of truth and meaning.

Anyway, to the point - I really do like the poem... and it's a classic. So if you've not read it before, enjoy pondering what kind of a man Death is, really. He's considered one of the great characters of literature.

Because I could not stop for Death
by Emily Dickinson
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

image: Danny North

No comments: