Nature has a conscience, An indirect editorial about rape via Nature Politics.


“My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains / My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk.” ~  John Keats

Who robbed the woods

The trusting woods?

The unsuspecting trees

Brought out their burrs and mosses

His fantasy to please.

He scanned their trinkets, curious,

He grasped, he bore away.

What will the solemn hemlock,

What will the fir-tree say?

by: Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Can a fir-tree say anything to humanity?  What is Dickinson projecting onto the hemlock and fir-tree?

“The trusting woods” is a statement of observation which is the perfect blending of the subjective and the objective. For a fir-tree to get big and strong means years of growth, trusting that the sun, rain and moisture from the earth will be dependable.  The woods have all the natural processes for life and photosynthesis to occur, the seasons and the arch of the heavens brightly shown as a confidence to an abundant life. How dependable nature is. Does humanity think often about the great relationship it has with the “trusting woods” for oxygen? Our world economy is rooted deep in the “unsuspecting trees.”

“His …He…He…He” enters the poem objectively.  Actions that bring great conflict to the passivity of nature as “His fancy, He scanned, He grasped.”  This is the rape of nature. The sixth line of the poem states that, ”He scanned their trinkets, curious,” is an objective statement showing the desire of “He” for the trinkets. This word speaks of those things in nature that are precious; trinkets are the jewels of nature. Nature then becomes an object to be “grasped” taken and used for the “fancy” of “He.”  He is the “Who” that has robbed the woods.

Dickinson uses the “solemn hemlock” in her poem as the one witness to the rape of nature. An action “He” does against the “woods.”  A beautiful poisonous plant is alerted to this action against the woods. The hemlock has a conscience. The hemlock knows it is wrong and the inward reaction is the feeling of being solemn. “He” is poisonous to nature. This is a contrary idea. It is commonly  know that the hemlock plant is poisonous yet, in Emily Dickinson’s poem, the “hemlock” is the face of truth.

Nature has a conscience in this poem and “He” does not.

My writing on my Website…

“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” ~ Emily Dickinson

 I am not a professional editor. I find that I do reread my postings and continually make corrections. When I first post my posts are based on the emotional inspiration that comes up. This is when I am likely losing all sight to imperfections and grammar and misspelling. Then I try to edit my writing as time goes on. My goal is to be as perfect as I can be. I know the truth about having work published in books, magazines and profession web sites. In these cases all work gets edited many times by many editors. I respect their discipline. Editing is not my forte but writing a good story is. I try to catch an image or archetype and then write it into being.  I know this may sound simplistic but I will write it just the same.  Once while watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie, Pa tells Laura about writing,

“There are those educated at the best universities, these are the ones we learn to respect. There are those that learn by nature, these are the ones we learn to love.”

My writing is somewhere between the two. I am not too interested in being respected. Being loved is much more fulfilling to me.  Yet, I am not too sure on how homogenous the two go together in this world of ours. I am always open to suggestions or editorial insights.  Maybe I will not agree but I will think about it. I also know that Emily Dickinson gave her editor a hard time… aren’t you glad she did !!!