The Cry of Modern Man

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
M y labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children played
At wrestling in a ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

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

Since then ’t is centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.

Emily Dickinson, a 19th century recluse, was the first modern American poet. She wrote in free verse and she discussed topics often ignored (e.g., birds on sidewalks). She also wrote about death.

Many think that Dickinson refused to commit her life to Christ. Perhaps that haunted her her whole life. I think so. When I read her poems I hear that forlorn cry.

Dickinson presages the cry of modern man—a cry for relevance and meaning and life in the midst of inhumanity.

IF I should die,
And you should live,
And time should gurgle on,
And morn should beam,
And noon should burn,
As it has usual done;
If birds should build as early,
And bees as bustling go,—”
One might depart at option
From enterprise below!
’T is sweet to know that stocks will stand
When we with daisies lie,
That commerce will continue,
And trades as briskly fly.
It makes the parting tranquil
And keeps the soul serene,
That gentlemen so sp rightly
Conduct the pleasing scene!

I am so glad I know who my Redeemer is! He snatches me from the tentativeness of modernity!

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