Poet Emily Dickinson

*At the top of my list of great American poets is Emily Dickinson. According to a book titled “The Poems of Emily Dickinson,” she was born December 10th, 1830, and died May 15th, 1886.

You can look up Ms. Dickinson’s history, but one of the poems she wrote – “I Died for Beauty” – came to mind as I was watching a segment of  Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s CNN show that featured a mother he interviewed about her teenage daughter who tragically died while driving and texting. It was the day before her high school graduation, and evidence proved that she was responding to a text message at the exact time of the crash that took her life. Her head was nearly severed in all of five seconds as she felt confident she could text a response to “Where U at?” while driving. Her cap and gown were in the car with her. How tragic! And what did she die for? What was the meaning?  This is just one case of an ever-increasing number of  incidences.

Emily Dickinson wrote the following poem (here’s how it is printed in the book):

‘I Died for beauty, but was scarce

Adjusted in the tomb,

When one who died  for truth was lain

In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed?

“For beauty,” I replied.

“And I for truth, – the two are one;

We brethren are,” he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a night,

We talked between the rooms,

Until the moss had reached our lips,

And covered up our names.’

For the sake of  those who nowadays are so distracted by texting and talking on cell phones in whatever they do, I wrote a slight rendition of  Ms. Dickinson’s poem:

I died while texting, but was scarce

Adjusted in the tomb,

When one who died for talk was lain

In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed

“For texting,” I replied.

And I for talk on my cell phone –

We two are one,” he said.

And so as kinsmen met a night

We talked and text’d our gloom

Until the moss had reached our lips,

And covered up our names.

So my point is, think about it…wouldn’t you rather die for something more worthwhile like beauty, truth, and honor?  The small stuff – the trivial stuff… can’t it wait?

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” (Steuben Pub) www.amazon.com. Articles frequently appear (among others) in the Los Angeles Sentinel Op-Ed section. Visit the author at www.larrybuford.com . (213) 220-8101.

Larry Buford

Larry Buford