Sunday, June 24, 2007

Emily Hearts Zeno

Her grave is not obvious; in fact, I am not sure if it is discernable at all. But her house is. I wasn't allowed inside because the college uses it as a guest home for visiting dignitaries, but I viewed the beautiful lilly gardens in their full bloom of early summer.

When I came down the long steep hill into town I stopped my vehicle at the little chamber-of-commerce booth to get a map. The sweet old man inside, upon hearing of my itinerary, said to me "She's not there." He was a sly one. I wouldn't have bought a used car nor a timeshare from him.

Emily Dickinson (1830–86). Complete Poems. 1924.

Part One: Life


I ’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there ’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They ’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

In an old episode of thirtysomething the Gary Shepherd character played by Peter Horton, is in (Ken Olin) Michael's office and the phone rings while Michael, the business guru, is out.

Gary is not part of the firm. The other person on the line asks him who he is. Since he is unmoneyed and not part of Michael's business, he says he's "nobody."

Nobody is nobody.

Not anybody.