365 Creativity Project-Day 258

Journal entry:

Journal 9-23-20120001

Emily Dickinson’s poem and my essay:

I taste a liquor never brewed —
From Tankards scooped in Pearl —
Not all the Vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an Alcohol!

Inebriate of Air — am I —
And Debauchee of Dew —
Reeling — thro endless summer days —
From inns of Molten Blue —

When “Landlords” turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove’s door–
When Butterflies — renounce their “drams” —
I shall but drink the more!

Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats —
And Saints — to windows run —
To see the little Tippler
Leaning against the — Sun —

Emily Dickinson

The Poem As Liquor

In the first stanza I believe Emily is writing about language in the poem. How it tastes new, is precious, and is uncommon. The poem is contained in a form which is not of baser materials. It cannot come from other minds, but is a distillation of the self. No one else could make such a potent use of language.

In the second stanza she relates her intoxication with the elements and how she breathes in endless warmth from the environment. This gives her the ability to write authoritatively from her own experience. She shares her self with we readers who visit from the wider world.

In the third stanza she scoffs at those who would place restrictions on her freedom to express herself. She states she will all the more enjoy herself because of those who wish to govern her use of language and form. She is breaking the rules with abandon.

In the fourth stanza she seems to be saying the heavenly hosts will rejoice with her in exuberance. Everyone will see her as outstanding in her presentations, which are shining with originality. She believes her work is life affirming and nurturing. She leans on beneficial elements supporting her and those who read her work.

The poem is so rare and fine readers can enjoy it on its surface or in a deeper reading. The language is rich and inviting. The images stand out convincingly.

Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Sunday, September 23, 2012

My poem was prompted by the wordle at The Sunday Whirl. The words in italics come from that site. If you are in need of inspiration you may find it there.

Preventive Measures

I remain trapped by
Bundles of words in corners
I climbed to avoid
Damp storm winds and thunder
Which shook me like a corn husk.

You bring sweet relief
Through your reading what might have
Only become ash
Scattered upon the flooring
Of this lonely shut off room.

I break away from
My own limitations to
Grasp your hand across
The gulf of space and moments
Separating each of us.

You return to me
Over and again making
Some sense of my words
Bequeathed to your fine estate
Without any condition.

I know without you
I would be resigned to such
Bleak obscurity
I could never escape this
Hugely restrictive sentence.

Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
Sunday, September 23, 2012





I am grateful:

1.   I have a home.
2.   I have comfortable clothing.
3.   I have food to eat.
4.   I am well educated.
5.   I have a good computer with internet access.

I hope you have had a wonderful Sunday. Now you should take some time and exercise your creativity. I do this every day and I know absolutely that you can write something with meaning. You are so creatively gifted.

As a prompt, write about a poem you enjoy. You could pick any poem you have ever read and do a close reading, or you could simply tell what the poem means to you. If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your work in the comments below.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit here. If so, please consider following Chronicles. I am very interested in your thoughts, suggestions, or criticism, so please leave a comment.

Jo Ann



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  1. #1 by startingthedialogue on September 23, 2012 - 11:07 pm

    You seem to ask if any would find meaning in deconstructing one of your poems. I love poetry-the rhythm and verse, but each poem is an opening into my own experiences of life. When I read poetry (I don’t write it) the poet and I many take totally different meaning from the words. It all springs, for me, from my life experiences. Take the great ballad “American Pie” by Don MacLean. Many have tried to attribute meaning to the song, but the composer states that there was no hidden meaning, he was just writing words. Yet when I hear that song it equates to many memories I experienced as a teen and young adult and has deep meaning for me although to my best friend it means something else. Poetry touches our hearts and our minds in ways no two people are likely to experience the same. Thanks for sharing such a great poem by a wonderful poetess and your interpretation of it.

    • #2 by Jo Ann J. A. Jordan on September 24, 2012 - 11:47 pm

      Laura, thank you so much for reading and commenting. I think poetry is a personal experience as you relate. Nothing I write belongs exclusively to me if I allow others to read it. They come with their own qualities, character, and experience. Naturally each reader may interpret the poem differently. Sometimes I even see my work in new ways when I read it later.

      I tend to read more on the surface of poems. Had I not been taking this class I would never have thought to deconstruct Emily’s poem in that way. From the essays I had to read and evaluate, my interpretation is not very accurate… but I saw it that way.

  2. #3 by Veronica Roth on September 23, 2012 - 11:12 pm

    How wonderful, Jo Ann, that you already got to the Sunday Whirl. Brilliantly done. I remember a deconstructing poetry class, but the poetry was pre 16C. Think Beowulf! That was tough. Good for you for taking on the challenge.

    • #4 by Jo Ann J. A. Jordan on September 24, 2012 - 11:36 pm

      Veronica, I try to do everything, but I was not sure my response to the wordle was worth posting here. It lurched along a bit worse than usual.

      I am not certain I will continue the class. I have a lot going on in real life, but at least I got that far.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

  3. #5 by purplepeninportland on September 24, 2012 - 11:07 pm

    `Trapped by bundles of words in corners’ – What a great line. Love the poem.

    • #6 by Jo Ann J. A. Jordan on September 24, 2012 - 11:49 pm

      Thank you so much. I wondered if that first stanza worked… it was kinda clunky. I am glad you enjoyed the poem.

  4. #7 by Carol Steel on September 25, 2012 - 7:02 am

    I like the lines:
    I break away from
    My own limitations to
    Grasp your hand across
    The gulf of space and moments
    Separating us.
    Here you capture what poetry and indeed all writing is about, to touch others, to connect our lives somehow and to say something of value and truth that resonates within another. Deconstructing poems is a bitch, but sometimes we learn the mechanics of a poem from the exercise. And sometimes it is just a pain in the ass.

    I enjoyed your poem.

    • #8 by Jo Ann J. A. Jordan on October 8, 2012 - 2:30 pm

      Thank you so much Carol. I apologize for not seeing this sooner it had gone in my spam folder and I had not checked it very recently. I think we try to move our readers whenever we write. I am not really impressed with the process of breaking a poem down, but it is interesting to focus that intently on the words.

      I am glad you enjoyed the poem and hope you will visit again.

  5. #9 by brenda w on September 25, 2012 - 9:06 pm

    Jo Ann, I appreciated your commentary on Dickinson’s work. I will take your assignment (prompt) seriously, but don’t have much free time right now. It’s percolating. I might do a response that I can share with my own 7th and 8th grade students. They did their first poetry responses this week on Sherman Alexie’s “The Summer of Black Widows.” I told them it doesn’t matter if they understand the poem or not, what matters is if they enoy it. Every reader views a poem through his or her own lens of experience.

    I truly do enoy my visits here each week. You are earnest and honest, and I always leave here feeling good for the visit.

    The last stanza of your wordle poem made me laugh out loud. Clever!!

    • #10 by Jo Ann J. A. Jordan on September 30, 2012 - 9:37 pm

      Thank you Brenda… I think from the other essays that I may have been way off in my interpretation. If you can get to the prompt, please share it here so I and others can see your work. I did not realize you were a teacher. I admire you for giving so much of your life to your students.

      I am glad you enjoy your visits to my blog. I try to be uplifting… not always succeeding, but try.

      That stanza was a little different, wasn’t it? Glad you enjoyed it.

  6. #11 by hypercryptical on September 27, 2012 - 4:47 am

    Love the poem and your accompanying words. Cabbage Patch dolls made me reminisce…

    Anna :o]

    • #12 by Jo Ann J. A. Jordan on September 30, 2012 - 9:40 pm

      Thank you Anna. I love the Cabbage Patch Kids. I wish I could visit BabyLand more often.

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