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March 9, 2023

14 of 40

“What mystery pervades a well!
That water lives so far –
A neighbor from another world
Residing in a jar”

People want to demystify these words by Emily Dickinson. We are curious about our curiosity. We want to control what we do not, cannot control.

“Whose limit none have ever seen,
But just his lid of glass —
Like looking every time you please
In an abyss’s face!”

A smiling Sphinx was discovered in the last year. A smiling Roman face in Egypt. It was fully buried. And revealed when other submerged civilization was apparent. Why smiling? Why Roman? Oh, it must be a emperor.

“The grass does not appear afraid,
I often wonder he
Can stand so close and look so bold
At what is awe to me.”

We are the ones who care. All the other things around us are blissfully unmoved by mystery. We want to know why more than what. We see what is below the wellhead and do not see the bottom. We want to see the bottom.

“But nature is a stranger yet;
The ones that cite her most
Have never passed her haunted house,
Nor simplified her ghost.”

From a place of full inspection, with gifts of understanding, intellect, facility to execute ways to see, then discover and analyze – all that capacity will out in infinite time – but all the factual elaboration runs up against motive.

“Related somehow they may be,
The sedge stands next the sea —
Where he is floorless
And does no timidity betray”

I may read every Emily Dickinson poem, writing, analysis – many have and dedicated their lives to her. And she is still a Sphinx. Because we cannot know her. We can only see the outcomes of Emily. We cannot but guess at motives

To pity those that know her not
Is helped by the regret
That those who know her, know her less
The nearer her they get.”

I know Bible scholars, too. They spend entire lives, in many entire schools, knowing the entire text of one book and thousands of others to see the bottom of the well. God is not us, Jesus was, but Jesus, and we, all of this, has a Father. I really did not know my father, but despite his damage, I love him. Because love was given to us, not by us.

I wish I understood.

To pity those that know her not
Is helped by the regret
That those who know her, know her less
The nearer her they get.”

Emily Dickinson

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