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She had, indeed, what she disclaimed having: "A privilege so awful / What would the Dower be, / Had I the Art to stun myself / With Bolts of Melody! Here is her definition of a poet: This was a Poet--It is That Distills amazing sense From ordinary Meanings-- And Attar so immense From the familiar species That perished by the Door-- We wonder it was not Ourselves Arrested it--before-- Of Pictures, the Discloser-- The Poet--it is He-- Entitles Us--by Contrast-- To ceaseless Poverty-- Of Portion --so unconscious-- The Robbing--could not harm-- Himself--to Him--a Fortune-- Exterior--to Time-- (448) The high value she places on poetry she reveals in the poem that begins "I reckon--when I count at all--" First she counts poets, then the sun and summer, and she adds: But, looking back--the First so seems To comprehend the Whole-- The Others look a needless Show-- So I write--Poets--All-- Their Summer--lasts a Solid Year-- They can afford a Sun The East--would deem extravagant-- And if the Further Heaven-- Be Beautiful as they prepare For Those who worship Them-- It is too difficult a Grace-- To justify the Dream-- (569) Dickinson in both these poems affirms Eliade's belief that lyric poetry "reveals the essence of things." Living in the middle of the nineteenth century, Dickinson, a product of New England Puritanism, rejected membership in the church and the conversion offered by the many religious revivals that descended on her home town of Amherst, Massachusetts, in her early years (Sewall 24).
Still, she was troubled by such Puritan ideas as "Divine immanence, providential history, the Whole Duty of Man; the sense of being Chosen, or Elected; the idea of Redemption" (Sewall 25).
He continues: "The purest poetic act seems to re-create language from an inner experience that, like the ecstasy or the religious inspiration of 'primitives,' reveals the essence of things" (510).
That Dickinson has her own "language," her own poetic vocabulary that probes her "inner experience" and creates a "personal universe," is clear to any perceptive reader.
It is a world-wide phenomenon with roots in the Paleolithic period.One of the few poems to which she assigned a title ("My Cricket," Johnson, , vol.3, 1206), goes as follows: Further in Summer than the Birds Pathetic from the Grass A minor Nation celebrates Its unobtrusive Mass.Her personal quest--her personal myth as expressed in her poetry--compensates for contemporary imbalance through a search for meaning in the face of the breakdown of collective myths.Had she lived in another era and been associated with a religion or belief system that included shamans, no doubt Dickinson would have been a shaman in the traditional sense, for she is concerned about the same mysteries that concern shamans and investigates these mysteries using the imagery of shamanism.