If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
My aim here is not to give you a synopsis of Emily Dickinson’s life. It is not meant to analize her poetry or determine it’s meaning. In 1970 I was given a Hallmark edition of “Judge Tenderly of Me”, the poems of Emily Dickinson, selected by Winfield Towley Scott.
As long as I can remember I found solice in the fact that I could use words on paper to express my sense of desire, disappointment, joy, sadness and all of the greys in between. I cannot admit to being an avid reader of novels or poetry. I frequented the library because I had to, not because it was a special place, although the librarian introduced me to archeology, which I found fascinating. But no, I wasn’t an avid reader. It wasn’t until the 70’s that I discovered small edition books like “Judge Tenderly of Me”, “Caught in the Quiet” – Rod McKuen and “Tears of Silence” by Jean Vanier. These small “BIG” books have found their way back into my life and I keep finding these little treasures on my book shelves.
Winfield Townley Scott was an American poet, critic and diarist. Born on April 30, 1910 and died April 28, 1968.
“Emily Dickinson wrote “greater poems than any other woman in all literature,” says Winfield Townley Scott, the editor of “Judge Tenderly of Me”.
“She was America’s first and perhaps only female poetic genious.” Born in 1830 and died in 1886. “Her poems were charged with emotional intensity. The truth is that Emily Dickinson – beautiful and sensitive, a woman in every respect- was living on top of a spiritual volcanoe. The poems tell us about the tumult inside this magnificent woman who loved but never married. They also tell us about the vast dimension of seemingly plain and familiar things in an obscure New England community.”
“Her writing is simple. It’s not simple minded.” She “Told us secrets about the way things really are. And the way things really are is often poignant as well as beautiful.” -WILFRED TOWNLEY SCOTT-
My life closed twice before its close-
It yet remains to see
If immortality unveil
A third event to me
So huge, so hopeless to conceive
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.
Naturally, the first poem in this edition reflects the title of the book.
This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to Me—–
The simple News that Nature told—-
With tender Majesty
Her message is committed
To Hands I cannot see–
For love of Her — Sweet– countrymen–
Judge tenderly — of Me