Contrast – Emily Dickinson


A door just opened on a street–
I, lost, was passing by–
And instant’s width of warmth disclosed,
And wealth, and company.

The door as sudden shut, and I,
I, lost, was passing by,–
Lost doubly, but by contrast most,
Enlightening misery.

Emily Dickinson
What a well-chosen word – enlighten – to give clarifying information to someone … and in this case the reader is enlightened to the state of the person represented in the text … I think it would be valid to assume Emily Dickinson had such an experience of misery … it is such a common occurrence …that is losing your way in a big city.
I have just seen the film ‘The Butler’ … there is a defining event concerning a very hungry person and exquisite cakes are in view but the window is a shutout to a hungry man as he walks the street.
But I think this poem is all about loss and loosing something perhaps you might have taken for granted. I must admit when overseas there comes a time when I really appreciate Oz and I guess we can easily generalize to many different situations when we experience loss and then it is highlighted by some other experience.
Black Becomes Blacker
For a split second super-white
Blacker Black
Blacker Black
Blacker Black
You can use the above as a framework in creating your own contrast poem … and of course there are many variations on this theme … for example five stanzas (three black stanzas, one super-white then one blacker black) or if a sonnet eight black lines then six super-white/ blacker black. 
… and by the way you can buy super-white paint as well as just white.

Your word in my ear ...

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