A Love Mystery

9 08 2013

There came a day at summer’s full
    Entirely for me;
    I thought that such were for the saints,
    Where revelations be.

    The sun, as common, went abroad,
    The flowers, accustomed, blew,
    As if no soul the solstice passed
    That maketh all things new.

    The time was scarce profaned by speech;
    The symbol of a word
    Was needless, as at sacrament
    The wardrobe of our Lord.

    Each was to each the sealed church,
    Permitted to commune this time,
    Lest we too awkward show
    At supper of the Lamb.

    The hours slid fast, as hours will,
    Clutched tight by greedy hands;
    So faces on two decks look back,
    Bound to opposing lands.

    And so, when all the time had failed,
    Without external sound,
    Each bound the other’s crucifix,
    We gave no other bond.

    Sufficient troth that we shall rise —
    Deposed, at length, the grave —
    To that new marriage, justified
    Through Calvaries of Love!

Emily Dickinson

This poem certainly invites scrutiny. More than one interpretation has been posited. Here’s mine.

The narrator speaks of an affair that, sunny and balmy as it felt (even if silent, secretive, and restrained), lasted but one season. Despite love indeed divine, for some undisclosed reason, the couple could not continue; their relationship had to be executed. Bereaved, they parted and went in different directions along the Way of the Cross … but not forever. They look forward to resurrection and being reunited, perhaps at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb (see Revelation 19:6-9).

As for the undisclosed reason, here’s my hypothesis: the narrator’s lover is a Roman Catholic priest and is thus unavailable in this life.

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