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Emily Dickinson on the semantic brain

Chris Daly read my over-worked, under-thought article on bits and atoms, and sent me this poem by Emily Dickinson:

Part One: Life

CXXVI

THE BRAIN is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include
With ease, and you beside.

The brain is deeper than the sea,
For, hold them, blue to blue,
The one the other will absorb,
As sponges, buckets do.

The brain is just the weight of God,
For, lift them, pound for pound,
And they will differ, if they do,
As syllable from sound.

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One Response to “Emily Dickinson on the semantic brain”

  1. Quoting poetry could be counter-productive for your popularity as a blogger. Every time you quote a poem, it is usually by one of my favorite poets, and I think, “Gee, why am I spending time reading blogs when I could be reading poetry?”

    On the other hand, it’s a rare pleasure to do both at the same time. Dickinson is my absolute favorite, and the line “The brain is just the weight of God” strikes me forcefully anew. As I remember, she always questioned the religious “certainties” of her New England community. I often recall what I remember as a line from a letter about the hereafter — “When pressed to know, I find that few are sure.” It expresses how I’ve come to think and feel about all religious “certainties.” Color me agnostic.


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