All around this city there are tiny factories of serendipity, otherwise known as a Little Free Library. These wonderful boxes, placed randomly throughout the city, house books of all varieties from random contributors. Any passerby can take or give a book of their choosing, and often they deposit or come upon a literary gem. The allure of these treasure troves is hard to resist for a book lover such as myself, and stopping to peruse them has often rewarded me greatly.

Thus did I recently stumble across a book of collected poems by Emily Dickinson. Naturally, it is overflowing with the creativity and wit that mark her style. In addition, the reader is confronted with the deep wells of emotion that Dickinson so adeptly appeals to; truly, her poetry offers glimpses into the human condition that few other poets can rival. I have selected this week’s poem precisely for this reason. It reminds us of the different forms heroism takes, and that the internal battlefield is no less fraught with deeds worth memorializing.

(Note: The poems in this edition are numbered rather than titled, but a little digging around online showed that there was a general agreement on the title I have chosen to use here. It can be found on pg. 26 of the volume to which I was referring above.)

To Fight Aloud is Very Brave

To fight aloud is very brave,
But gallanter, I know,
Who charge within the bosom,
The cavalry of woe.

Who win, and nations do not see,
Who fall, and none observe,
Whose dying eyes no country
Regards with patriot love.

We trust in plumed procession,
For such the angels go,
Rank after rank, with even feet
And uniforms of snow.

Emily Dickinson

 

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