Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy

Becoming more comfortable with the state of death -

Oh, I know you think I am now going to write about CA, a state that seems to be dying on the vine, but, no, I'm not.

In APR, David Lehman, has an article called The Visionary Walt Whitman.   I am going to pull one paragraph out because I think it is important to realize that we can become more comfortable with the death state before we die.  It is a practice, a practice of letting go, not our favorite or easiest practice, perhaps, but one that is important nevertheless.  

David Lehman:

    In a curious way Whitman's secret life overlaps with Emily Dickinson's.  Dickinson, the poet of dashes and telegraphic urgency, and Whitman, the poet of the deep breath and the long line, are alike to the extent to which they obsess about death.  For both, the problem of human mortality is an insistent challenge, not an abstraction but an experience somehow to be endured.  Death in life is real and vivid and (for Whitman) sometimes hauntingly sensual.  Like secretive notes, written without the expectation that they will ever be read, Dickinson's poems tell you that she died for Beauty, that she had a brief conversation with one who died for Truth, that she could hear a fly buzz, that she was able to stand up, and other privileged details that attendees of their own funerals seldom notice and never report.  From Dickinson's poems you might also suppose that she had died and written them posthumously..  "To have been immortal transcends to become so," she wrote as though having been in both states.


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