Greenpoint, October, 2015

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Emily Takes a Checker

"Emily's Carriage" by April (2005)
What kind of car would Emily Dickinson drive?* I was giving some thought to this question when I came across this painting on the EBSQ site for self-representing artists. It is titled "Emily's Carriage," and the artist is April Fontaine, described as "self-taught artist from Boston living in New England" (her EBSQ profile with other works is here). Shakespeare seems to be putting a move on ED, and Jack Kerouac is at the wheel. The piece won an award in EBSQ's Conversations with Dead Poets series. Of course, the piece is a response to Dickinson's poem beginning "Because I could not stop for Death":

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

(*I picture Dickinson in an early 70s muscle car. Maybe a black Chevy Nova SS. What about you?)

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