Somebody

 

Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886

Poem #260 from her catalog of works . . .

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

*

Once upon a time I had a teacher in a poetry class named Ruth Slonim.  She was fond of quoting Emily Dickinson and every once in a while snippets of these poems pop into my head.  Some I have even burned into my brain years later.  But this is an example of someone who effected my life in such a way that I didn’t even realize it fully at the time.  The old song goes “you never know what you got until it is gone.”  She died in 2005.

I later learned that during her life, she was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in poetry.  Just to be nominated means she effected a lot more people than just me.   She had, and still has relevance in this world.  She is still effecting in her own quiet way.

The last time I remember meeting her was on a side-walk maybe 20 years after she taught me in class.  She remembered me from that class, and said she had been hearing good things about my work.  I mostly feel I have dwelled in hiding all my life, so when these little bumps come along, they make me reevaluate what I really am, what I think I have and have not done with my life.  And things like “How dreary to be somebody . . . ” pop into my head.

The frog tune that was posted on this blog a little time back in reference to the Donald Trump horror, must come from this poem, and Ruth Slonim.  “An admiring Bog” is a danger that Donald Trump never had a teacher burn into his brain as a warning.  It is really a shame that the humanities of a well-rounded education never sank in for Mr. Trump.  It is people like Ruth Slonim that I have to thank for adding this little angel on my shoulder, or is it a demon?  Whatever it is, it is one of those lessons that never really gets over.

Image result for Ruth Slonim

 

 

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About johnsmithiiimxiii

John Smith, IIMXIII is the avatar of an award winning poet, artist, etc. who still lives in the Palouse country of the Pacific NW. He has not received much notice with his prose . . . but as his avatar, I hope that he keeps plugging along.

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