Emily Dickinson – Rebel

Much Madness is divinest Sense

Much Madness is divinest Sense –
To a discerning Eye –
Much Sense – the starkest Madness –
’Tis the Majority
In this, as all, prevail –
Assent – and you are sane –
Demur – you’re straightway dangerous –
And handled with a Chain –
This poem by Dickinson (1830-1886) shows her rebel self.  She didn’t hold with ‘going along with the crowd’ or social convention, generally, just for the sake of comfortability.  In fact, she was a recluse.  I wish I could be a recluse, but I have to go out into the world every day to work.  Work gives me the independence I need so I’m not a burden on others.
In 1847, in her last year of schooling, Dickinson was the only student who didn’t stand up when the class was asked ‘who wants to be Christians.’  This willful act also shows her rebel self.  Here is the first stanza of one of her poems which well-shows her thought about God.
 Nature and God — I neither knew
Yet Both so well knew me
They startled, like Executors
Of My identity.
She was taken aback by the majesty of creation.
I like the poetry of Emily Dickinson and through it, I like her, though she’s dead.  There is a fine biographical essay on her at the poetry foundation.


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Two Literary Pieces from my Mom

My Mom, Etta Marie Rizzuto, asked me to post these two  poetic pieces on my blog.

‘Cardboard Boxes’

Snow slowly drifts down onto

Leafless trees, dirty streets with

Shuttered homes and

Cardboard boxes covering homeless people


Fragrant flowers, poking through weed-filled

Yards and broken glass, their aroma flowing into

Cardboard boxes covering  homeless people


Dazzling days filled with light and sunshine,

Surrounding deserted parks and garbage-

Laden fountains and warming

Cardboard boxes covering homeless people


Leaves of autumn colors – red, orange, gold

Drift against broken fences and junked cars

Bright and bold landing on

Cardboard boxes covering homeless people


Lord, open our eyes so we may see

The arms of all those who plead

Lord, open our ears so we may hear

The cries of children filled with  fear

Lord, open our minds to the poverty, sickness

And loneliness suffered by

Homeless people living under cardboard boxes


Lord, open our hearts to the love you gave us

While dying on the cross

Glory and hope will give meaning and

Faith to the homeless people who no

Longer live under cardboard boxes

Because we care.

(published in local newspaper, The Orange Transcript [NJ], 6/12/2014)




Look for amazing rainbows

instead of terrible hurricanes

Find fluttering butterflies

instead of noisy beetles

Stay with happy children

instead of pesty pains.


Travel the soaring mountains, the

verdant valleys, the country lanes

instead of dismal swamps,

devastated neighborhoods,

barren plains.


Fly the drifting clouds, the

brilliant ray of sunshine, if

only in your dreams

instead of drowning yourself

in sorrow, harsh criticism

and worthless schemes.


Gather those about you who plant

fruitful seeds

instead of walking through

fields of endless weeds.


Live today and be glad, forgive

those who may be sad,

We do not know the problems

others face,

While we live happily in the

Almighty’s grace

instead through it all if

we rid ourselves of stress

we may find the next moment

will be the best!




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[I’m sixty years old.]

I wish for a private grave

on another planet;

with pretty flowers,

to be seen only by God.


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Vinyl Record Playing ‘Midnight at the Oasis,’ Maria Muldaur

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Musing on VanGogh

A chair for Vincent to sit upon; a pipe & tobacco for Vincent to puff upon

VanGogh was a lonely man

I just viewed a short film document on the work of painter Vincent VanGogh, VanGogh: Brush with Genius, only 39 minutes long, and at its end, my eyes produced tears, my upper cheeks, right and left, became wet.  You see, I love VanGogh.  I love his work and I love his life story.  I suppose, if I knew VanGogh back in the 1800s, it may have been different.  He was difficult, socially and psychologically and I may not have been able to understand him.   As it is, knowing VanGogh in hindsight, through the work he left behind, his letters, and the research of scholars, I love him.  I do not use the word ‘love’ cavalierly.  I only use the word love with reference to living beings, never in respect of inanimate objects, like books or movies or furniture or artwork.  To me, love means the extreme liking a person has for another being, or something alive, like a flower.  Love is felt on the inside and practiced outwardly in action; the action is in purpose to cultivate love in the other.  For example, a person loving roses might care for a rose garden in expression of that love, and the roses return love by proper blooming.  VanGogh is yet alive.  Jesus taught that all, even the ‘dead,’ are alive unto God.  A child might say that VanGogh is in heaven and so would I.

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Love, a Shadow?

My love is a shadow, a negation of her shadow
Together, we have no light//
Our love is silent – struggling for birth

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