Saturday, August 27, 2016

Because I could not stop for Death

Because I could not stop for Death – (479)

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Because I could not stop for Death – 
He kindly stopped for me – 
The Carriage held but just Ourselves – 
And Immortality. 

We slowly drove – He knew no haste 
And I had put away 
My labor and my leisure too, 
For His Civility – 

We passed the School, where Children strove 
At Recess – in the Ring – 
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain – 
We passed the Setting Sun – 

Or rather – He passed Us – 
The Dews drew quivering and Chill – 
For only Gossamer, my Gown – 
My Tippet – only Tulle – 

We paused before a House that seemed 
A Swelling of the Ground – 
The Roof was scarcely visible – 
The Cornice – in the Ground – 

Since then – 'tis Centuries – and yet 
Feels shorter than the Day 
I first surmised the Horses' Heads 
Were toward Eternity –

This is one of my favorite Emily Dickinson poems.  The imagery and symbolism are powerful.  In February of 2015, we thought Death was stopping for my mother as she was released from ICU into hospice care at home.  I remember asking the nurse how long she had left.  Her response was "It's anybody's guess."

This is she shortly after coming home:

And here she is last Sunday, welcoming Dad home from early church:

The hospital bed is gone, and new flooring is in.  Death didn't stop his carriage at this house; He kept on going.