On the Street, a Tattered Old Blind Man — NaPoWriMo2015 #5

Before I got so “wise”
I had to have
my eyes put out
so that I could see
as other creatures
beyond this life
and know another way.

Long ago I was told
that I might have the Sky for mine
and I lived to make it so
fleeing the home of
wicked prophesy
Battling fleshed forces to take
Meadows for mine
Mountains for mine
All around in forests
And among Stintless stars
I shone like the sun at noon
Truth I could take in
Between my finite eyes as it wavered like
The motions of dipping birds
Until I recognized
The morning’s Amber Road for mine
To look at when I liked
To walk again at will

The news could have struck
Me dead, as it did my mother-wife
So safer, I guess, with just my soul
Resting against the window pane
No longer incautious of the son

~LD

The prompt: “Find an Emily Dickinson poem – preferably one you’ve never previously read – and take out all the dashes and line breaks. Make it just one big block of prose. Now, rebreak the lines. Add words where you want. Take out some words. Make your own poem out of it!”

It’s always disconcerting to mess with famous people’s poems, but I chose well in that I didn’t really “get” the Dickinson poem I chose in its original form. So, I was free to stir in entirely new ingredients. I recently re-read Oedipus, and he’s been wandering around up in my brain, pacing mostly. Here is Dickenson’s original:

Before I got my eye put out – (336)
BY EMILY DICKINSON
Before I got my eye put out –
I liked as well to see
As other creatures, that have eyes –
And know no other way –

But were it told to me, Today,
That I might have the Sky
For mine, I tell you that my Heart
Would split, for size of me –

The Meadows – mine –
The Mountains – mine –
All Forests – Stintless stars –
As much of noon, as I could take –
Between my finite eyes –

The Motions of the Dipping Birds –
The Morning’s Amber Road –
For mine – to look at when I liked,
The news would strike me dead –

So safer – guess – with just my soul
Opon the window pane
Where other creatures put their eyes –
Incautious – of the Sun –

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