The Grass so little has to do –
A Sphere of simple Green –
With only Butterflies to brood
And Bees to entertain –
And stir all day to pretty Tunes
The Breezes fetch along –
And hold the Sunshine in its lap
And bow to everything –
And thread the Dews, all night, like Pearls –
And make itself so fine
A Duchess were too common
For such a noticing –
And even when it dies – to pass
In Odors so divine –
Like Lowly spices, lain to sleep –
Or Spikenards, perishing –
And then, in Sovereign Barns to dwell –
And dream the Days away,
The Grass so little has to do
I wish I were a Hay –

Emily Dickinson

Dear Emily

I want to be your book. Hardbound, cream-hued, and stained with ebony ink. Page after page, I want your fingers to run through me as I pour into you an infinity. I want to jade you, wound you with merciless words of loss, ache and death, and wilt with you as your tears melt my being, seeping into me the pain you have felt. But my stories cannot all be dreary: there will be March of blooming joy as the page turns, and you find that mirth cannot be far behind. I want you to stir your soul and mark your ephemeral memory, so even when you have to leave to attend to life’s other oddities there shall be a bookmark decorating me- goading you to resume reading me. I will let you have the liberty of dog folds and slanting underlines, but only so that I can read you as you read me, and we create mutual minds.

I want to tell you of the stories I am populated by- of a Dante whose soul traversed the purgatory, a Darcy who birthed lust for charm and chivalry, of a Precious Ring, six dead wives and their ruthless King, Eragon and his dragon’s egg, and a talking Lion who struck the Ice Queen dead. There will be tales of a libido driven Doctor and his nubile Lolita, of a ceaseless wait for Love in the time of Cholera, of the promise of a thousand times over and of a ‘Boy who lived’, who fought the Dark Lord with magical might, of a Sherlock and his genius alchemy, and of Shellys, Byrons and Derozios and their delicious blasphemy. Fair warning; banish me to Hell’s seventh circle when you wish for me to tell you of a vampire who sparkled.

I want you to take good care of my small domain as I grow old and my print begins to fade and my spine weakens and breaks. I will want a book jacket, preferably hand-made, with my name scribbled on it. The workshop will have to build me anew. But don’t make me bland, dull and brown; I want to be vivid, colourful, from cover to cover my hues to run unbound. Your friends will wish to borrow me, and I will become their favoured company. I am built to please minds swelled with curiosity, so be wary of the wars you’ll wage to demand back my custody.

I want you to read me on paper and not on screen, for there is no intimacy when you cannot touch me. You will be my worm, licking me as I percolate new words into your vocabulary. You will question and dissent, argue and comment: I won’t take credit, but the knowledge shall stem from the very roots of me. You will curl under a quilt, but your freezing tips shall peruse and tickle me. And when you forget the toothbrush and paste, but never forget to carry me even when in such ungodly haste, I will be flattered and never leave your side as you journey through land, water or the skies.

I want a shelf for me. I have lain beside you night after night weaving a phantasmagorical maze, watching you imagine lovers, lights, fields, fights, magic, mice, centuries and days. I have given you an eternity, and now that my place is no longer beside that brilliant head of yours, lolling in the stupor of slumber, I want my own space. But even when you’re done and have decided to put me away, do return, for I assure you “a precious, mouldering pleasure it is to meet an antique book”.

Especially your book, Emily.

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