Sunday, November 13, 2016

Embracing Uncertainty

Must all of worth be travailled for, and those
Life's brightest stars rise from a troubled sea?
Must years go by in sad uncertainty
Leaving us doubting whose the conquering blows,
Are we or Fate the victors? Time which shows
All inner meanings will reveal, but we
Shall never know the upshot.
Ours to be Wasted with longing, shattered in the throes,
The agonies of splendid dreams, which day
Dims from our vision, but each night brings back;
We strive to hold their grandeur, and essay
To be the thing we dream.
Sudden we lack
The flash of insight, life grows drear and gray,
And hour follows hour, nerveless, slack.
- Amy Lowell, "In Darkness"

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Gert said...

Slightly more poetic than "the commutator of the position and momentum operators [in the position basis] equals i times hbar"!

Nice vid...

FreeThinke said...

If I had the right –– or the temerity –– to give this poem a name, I would call it “To Those Left Behind.” Emily never gave titles to her poems, they are always identified by simply the first line.

We think always of the brave men horribly killed in battle, but too little attention has been paid –– I feel –– to the widows and orphans, mothers, fathers, younger siblings and close friends forced to suffer the pain of losing a loved one, a helpmate, a guide, and a companion.

After all, for the dead it is over –– their suffering, one would hope, is at an end. Those left behind, however, must somehow carry on and find find new purpose in living. This poem, I feel, addresses their situation eloquently. But then, Emily seemed always preoccupied with the position of the Vanquished –– the Bereaved –– the Deprived –– but to me her endive, elegiac verse is never depressing. I believe in writing her poetry in the quiet of her spare-but-elegantly-furnished bed chamber she found a way to transcend –– to lift herself above –– the sort of Grief experienced by most.

We grow accustomed to the Dark ––
When Light is put away ––
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Good bye ––
A Moment –– We uncertain step
For newness of the night ––
Then –– fit our Vision to the Dark –– 
And meet the Road –– erect –– 
And so of larger –– Darknesses ––
Those Evenings of the Brain ––
When not a Moon disclose a sign ––
Or Star –– come out –– within ––
The Bravest –– grope a little ––
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead ––
But as they learn to see ––
Either the Darkness alters ––
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight ––
And Life steps almost straight.

~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)