Words Beyond Recall

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I wrote a poem
Early in the morning;
Formed words
Out of lilac mist, and with
Clear dreams popping sweetly on my tongue.

I shut my eyes tight
To inscribe them on the inside,
With mist that seemed black to me, and firm.

Then I rolled over and went to sleep
Again

When I woke
Nothing remained; only
A shining light behind my eyes
That burned my words away–

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In Your Mind’s Eye

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But imagine this

A girl sitting on a swing at the close of day. Her hair is falling into her face, and she stops every thirty seconds to brush it out of the way. It’s too short to tie, and too long to stay out of the way.

The swing is outside the house, between the front door and the gate. Her legs are crossed under her, a book is nestled among the skirt-folds in her lap, and she is quiet and not really herself anymore.

It’s silly to sit out here when the light is fading so fast, but a few minutes of peace are rare and treasured in this home, and she snatches them when she can. Calvino is a wonderful guide, and when he takes her by the hand and guides her around Diomira, she is so, so lost and whole and in love.

But imagine this

Emily is quiet, not because she has little to say (one day the world hears it, all of it, and recoils and applauds in a single motion, but she is too dead to know), but because she has much to think about. Gondal is in peril, she fears, and if she does not think, Branwell will swoop in and take over, and that will be the end of Gondal as they know it. So she thinks and plots, and if her Julius must sometimes lower himself to base methods, even sheer cruelty, she understands. He loves Gondal; she does too, and so she understands how far love might make even the good and the great fall.

All the time, the moors of Yorkshire are visible through the open window. Pigeons, wild ducks, turkeys, moor-cocks, lapwings- Emily can hear them, or see them wheeling overhead. There’s a single stray lapwing feather on the window-sill. Aunt Branwell musn’t see it, or Charlotte will hear from her and Emily can’t abide that. She takes the feather and hides it in her pocket.

A lapwing feather. Bonny bird, she thinks. She hears the wind whistle on the moor. Emily shuts the window slowly against the cold draught, and thinks.

But imagine

imagine it, though

Tell me what you see.