Can you distinguish which one?

“I Died for Beauty”
By Emily Dickinson

I died for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed?
“For beauty,” I replied.
“And I for truth,—the two are one;
We brethren are,” he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a night,
We talked between the rooms.
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names.

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My reflections
I start with a question: Why did Dickinson started with death? Truth and Beauty could be 2 kinsmen or kinswomen sitting side by side on a park bench.
Or they could be jogging or walking on a path. One answer is Death is a mystery and Dickinson considered Truth and Beauty mysteries. And mystery is an eternal question which we can study and learn until death.

Mystery invites answers. Dickinson began the thread: “The two are one”. Truth and Beauty are symmetrical and mirror copy of each other. I have a link about Symmetry. link: https://www.mathsisfun.com/geometry/symmetry.html
She did not define Truth or Beauty and left definition for the readers.

What is Beauty? For me, Beauty is purity and harmony. What is Truth?
Truth is integrity and permanence. Because they are mirror image or reflection of each we can interchange the anwers.

Beauty and Truth may not demand answers but clarification. Should I look for meanings? Should I look for examples?

If I look for meaning, Beauty and Truth lead me to God. God is permanence and perfection.

If I look for examples, Beauty and Truth lead me to Love. Love is purity and integrity.

I think Emily Dickinson asked parallel question: Would you die for love? Would you be true to yourself and follow your art (or heart) and not the herd?

Would you die for God? For your faith? Would you die for your country?
Would you die for your principles?

These are eternal questions, we can think and write about them “until the moss had reached our lips” we will not have exhausted the answers and they will remain undistinguishable from each other, their names both covered with moss.

Maybe Dickinson was also reminding us of time. Have you declared your love to someone you love? Have you thought about God? Sometimes time ends abruptly.

note: I’m taking an eCourse, Ten Premodern Poems by Women, through Stanford University

rainbow edge

“I’ve come to believe that there’s no truth beyond illusion. Because, between ‘reality’ on the one hand, and the point where the mind strikes reality, there’s a middle zone, a rainbow edge where beauty comes into being, where two very different surfaces mingle and blur to provide what life does not: and this is the space where all art exists, and all magic.”

“Whatever teaches us to talk to ourselves is important: whatever teaches us to sing ourselves out of despair…it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch.”-Donna Tartt

note: excerpts from The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

unfinished dialogue

Books connect to other books

concepts clarifies other concepts

web of connections

lifelines to sustain a tree, an ocean,  a mind

tributaries, tributaries

“What are you talking about?”

from a voice I heard from behind me

I turned around and saw you.

I was astonished to see an angelic face

your cool blue eyes looking at  me

“I’m sorry,” I said, “I’m thinking loud”. 

Then silence followed my surprise.

I stammered, “I lost track

of progress of what I was thinking.

But now if I think of beauty

I will think of you 

and will sustain me for a long time.”

I thought I was bold.

Your words froze me.

“Why would you say that?

You don’t know me.”

Before I could reply

you turned around and left.

I looked at you walking away

my vision of beauty fading away.

I was sitting still, still frozen.

I regretted it then and now

I didn’t follow you

to continue our dialogue.

I was left in the library, alone, 

with my books and shelves 

and shelves of silence.

 

note: I’m reading the Raven by Edgar Allan Poe and The Artist of the Beautiful by Nathaniel Hawthorne, 2 of several works for my eCourse on Fantasy and Science Fiction.