we talked about the idea of contradiction — the negotiation of dualities —

it seems about Dickinson: that human beings experience the World (Matter, Truth, Beauty) through Consciousness and are afflicted by this consciousness and the “telling” of this affliction (The Living — tell — / The Dying — but a Syllable — / The Coy Dead — None –“. It is the predicament of Living to be afflicted by consciousness and to tell, and the predicament of the poet to write (Tell the Truth but Tell it slant). (unlike her dog “who knows, but does not tell”).

but the effects of consciousness are so intense — pain, despair, loss, agony — why not let the old, old sophistries (did i write solipsisms in my close read??? oops) Induce her Belief (23), why not address the Eclipse each morning (25 april 1862) and be safe in the Alabaster Chamber (47)?

and then the idea of “looking oppositely” — poem 378:

“I find myself still softly searching
For my Delinquent Palaces —

And a Suspicion, like a Finger
Touches my Forehead now and then
That I am looking oppositely
For the site of the Kingdom of Heaven”

here we see what Lars talked about when he said the undercurrent of her sarcasm is a longing…a longing for “the site” — “the Torrid Eye” — and through looking oppositely — through negotiating duality– this can be achieved…

but the question still remains…Why even look oppositely? the looking itself of consciousness bringing about the affliction.
then this poem: (181)

“A Tooth upon Our Peace
The Peace cannot deface —
Then Whereforth be the Tooth?
To vitalize the Grace —

The Heaven hath a Hell —
Itself to Signalize —
And every sign before the Place
Is Gilt with Sacrifice –“

and to remember the question from the poem i close read in class: “How have i peace except by subjugating consciousness?” The tooth can be read as being-towards-death — all the pain of consciousness and then this gorgeous line which seems to answer the question WHY:

“To vitalize the Grace –“

We must not let the old sophistries induce our belief if we want “To vitalize the Grace — ” we must endure the affliction of consciousness “To vitalize the Grace — ” we must “look oppositely” (The heaven hath a Hell — / Itself to signalize”) in order “To vitalize the Grace — ” (i love that line)….

and then what is so important about vitalizing grace???

“Baptized, before, without the choice,
But this time, consciously, of Grace —
Unto Supremest name —
Called to my Full — The Crescent dropped —
Existence’s whole Arc, filled up,
With one small Diadem.”


with thee in the thirst (42) —


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