Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Well Being...

What mystery pervades a well!
That water lives so far –
A neighbor from another world
Residing in a jar

Whose limit none has ever seen,
But just his lid of glass –
Like looking every time you please
In an abyss's face!

The grass does not appear afraid,
I often wonder he
Can stand so close and look so bold
At what is awe to me.

Related somehow they may be,
The sedge stands near the sea –
Where he is floorless
And does no timidity betray

But nature is a stranger yet:
The ones that cite her most
Have never passed her haunted house,
Nor simplified her ghost.

To pity those that know her not
Is helped by the regret
That those who know her, know her less
The nearer her they get.
-Emily Dickinson, "What mystery pervades a well!"

15 comments:

FreeThinke said...

One of my favorite Dickinson poems.

I love it not so much for what it says as for what it has left unsaid.

Asking intriguing, intelligent questions is far more stimulating to creative thought than simply providing a list of didactic precepts filled with received knowledge and thoughtlessly accepted wisdom one is expected to memorize.

When still very young I wrote a poem about a little pool I discovered in the middle of a patch of woods. I remember likening it to an Eye giving passersby a magnified, extended vision of the Universe thus enabling the mystery of Existence to be better understood.

It couldn't have been very good, because I was only thirteen, and had not yet made the acquaintance of Miss Dickinson, but I still wish it –– and many other bits of juvenilia –– had not been lost, because of my carelessness and stupidity.

We can never nudge the value of our own work.

FreeThinke said...

Here is a poor, hastily contrived attempt to reconstruct what I wrote more than sixty years ago.


Alone I walk down shady garden paths.
Bright sunshine filtered through the trees
Dapples the ground beneath my questing feet.

Here at last I am alone with God.

Farther on a little pool catches
And reflects the filtered light which beckons
Kindly like a White Witch of the Wood.

I feel a thrill without a trace of fear.

I cannot stop myself from moving closer
Toward the Edge to see the Tadpoles swimming
In myriad stages of development.

I feel a wish to be part of their world.

The pool is a Mirror enabling me to see
Myself more clearly in a tranquil light;
Also an Eye that opens the mysteries of

The Universe to peace-filled understanding.


~ FreeThinke

-FJ said...

It's a shame that Emily lived so long ago.

FreeThinke said...

Perhaps, but to me she is still very much alive –– more so than most in my acquaintance as a matter of fact.

I'm not sure that today's fractious mental climate and proliferation of idiotic irritating noise pollution everywhere we go would have provided good soil to nurture her sensitive, introspective soul.


She did have a great sense of humor and an even greater sense of irony, so perhaps she would have adapted well to our turbulent, cynical age. She lived through the Civil War after all, but without the dubious benefits of 24-hour television news cycles, which I believe are driving us all to the brink of insanity..

In any case, like all great artists her voice is timeless –– to those with ears to hear.

FreeThinke said...

For Once, Then, Something

Others taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
Deeper down in the well than where the water
Gives me back in a shining surface picture
Me myself in the summer heaven godlike
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths—and then I lost it.
Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.


~ Robert Frost (1874-1963)

FreeThinke said...

Till taught by pain,

Men really know not what good water's worth;

If you had been in Turkey or in Spain,

Or with a famish'd boat's-crew had your berth,

Or in the desert heard the camel's bell,

You'd wish yourself where Truth is--in a well.


~ Byron

FreeThinke said...

A pool is the eye of the garden in whose candid depths is mirrored its advancing grace.

 ~ Lousie Bebe Wilder

FreeThinke said...


In Scandinavian mythology, for example, the fountain of Mimir, source of hidden wisdom, lay under the roots of the great world tree and in Islamic culture fountains are found referred to in the Koran, in the garden called Paradise.  In the Bible the passage: "It is done, I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely," reflects the importance that fountains symbolized to the writers. 




~ Bryan R. Hirst, Fountains

FreeThinke said...

"For fountains, they are a Great Beauty and Refreshment, 
but Pools mar all, and make the Garden unwholesome, 
and full of Flies and Frogs."

~  Sir Francis Bacon, Of Gardens, 1625

FreeThinke said...

According to Democritus, truth lies at the bottom of a well, the water of which serves as a mirror in which objects may be reflected.  I have heard, however, that some philosophers, in seeking for truth, to pay homage to her, have seen their own image and adored it instead.

~   Charles Richter

FreeThinke said...

I hate water - fish fuck in it.  


~   W.C. Fields

FreeThinke said...

Ancient traditions have long associated holy wells and springs as very special places of the Goddess or anima mundi:  symbolic of the Great Mother and associated with birth, the feminine principle, the universal womb, the prima materia, the waters of fertility and refreshment and the fountain of life.  The dreaming sites, as they are called, have also been associated with visions, healing, and other paranormal experiences.  In ancient Greece, for example, there were more than three-hundred medical centers placed at water sources, where patients experienced healing.


~ Christopher and Tricia McDowell,  The Sanctuary Garden, 1998

Titan Uranus 2 said...

Sometime you make me feel like a real Lycian peasant, FT! (Ovid, "Metamorphoses" Book VI)

FreeThinke said...

What is this bewhiskered face I see
Looking up at me from the bottom of the well?
Wreathed in glowing green ferns
It might be that of a Faun –– a Satyr ––
Perhaps the Devil, himself?
It couldn't be me. I don't have horns,
And I never have looked well in green.


~ FreeThinke };-)>

Thersites said...

:)