I was thinking about Emily Dickinson and the Pope. Let me explain.
I’m not, I confess, a huge fan of Emily’s work. Her dashes drive me to distraction. I want to grab one and beat her over the head with it. Her use of commas irritates the crap out of me (There are RULES). Nevertheless, that old odd duck has genius in her that I can’t deny. And the Pope too. A welcome voice in the world, much as he has some limited views on things I think are important. I’m interested in the Pope’s environmentalism. And so when I encountered this one from Emily that I had forgotten about, I thought, hm, I bet this pope would be on board with this. I read a fascinating book on Dickinson and her religious perspectives as seen through her poetry, Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief. It gave me a way in to her work. But this poem is a tidy glimpse and a good reminder of staying present, and of Simone Weill’s assertion that paying attention is prayer.
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church — (236)
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –/I keep it, staying at Home –/With a Bobolink for a Chorister–/And an Orchard, for a Dome —
Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice –/I, just wear my Wings–/And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,/Our little Sexton — sings.
God preaches, a noted Clergyman–/And the sermon is never long./So instead of getting to Heaven, at last–I’m going, all along.