Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Black Birthday Cake

Dear Baking,

For Emily Dickenson's birthday today, bake this cake:


a fruitcake.

If you don't want to mix 22 eggs (and why not?  Will you go to your grave a 'small batch only' kind of baker??!) then you can read this poem by Ms. Dickinson instead:
       How happy is the little stone
       That rambles in the road alone,
       And doesn't care about careers,
       And exigencies never fears:
       Whose coat of elemental brown
       A passing universe put on;
       And independent as the sun,
       Associates or glows alone,
       Fulfilling absolute decree
       In casual simplicity.

In choosing this particular poem, I read a great many from my big Collected volume of Dickinson, and every first line is stellar, and some of the second lines are too.  I loved the first lines clipped from their remainders, and strung together randomly.  I like them this way so much I typed them up on thin, translucent paper, and then sewed them onto vaporous dollops of ink

I love very much the idea of Emily Dickinson; so much that I visited her house, the place she spent her 'recluse' days.  It was a fine pilgrimage.  I object somewhat to the word recluse which is always associated with her- It smacks of a belittling tendency towards female poets of any age. 

Still, I love the idea of her holing up and writing from her windowsill, and I will revere that notion of her for a while longer.  I expect Emily Dickinson's lack of interest in certain things would come under this writer's definition of resistance (explicated in this excellent article) which she calls 'just not.'