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Dare you see a Soul at the ‘White Heat’?
by Emily Dickinson

Dare you see a Soul at the ‘White Heat’?
Then crouch within the door—
Red — is the Fire’s common tint—
But when the vivid Ore
Has vanquished Flame’s conditions—
It quivers from the Forge
Without a color, but the Light
of unannointed Blaze—

Least Village, boasts it’s Blacksmith—
Whose Anvil’s even ring
Stands symbol for the finer Forge
That soundless tugs — within —

Refining these impatient Ores
With Hammer, and with Blaze
Until the designated Light
Repudiate the Forge—


White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson by Brenda Wineapple


Poetic Light From Her Red-Hot Fire
by Helen Losse

—after Emily Dickinson’s “Dare you
see a Soul at the ‘White Heat’?”

What’s burning, Emily?
As your colors lay open my heart,
White-hot jewels scorch
With every pretending—
The poet’s life, a poet’s light—
Then smoldering dross
In the Light of the Forge—
I feel the heat — trying the Soul—

I breathe in, but recluse’s flame
No mere blacksmith can endure
Poetic light from your red-hot fire—
It shakes me — disturbs me—

Your colored breast
Tints my colorless torso—
But Anointing comes
From Light — alone—

The largest part of Jesus’ life was hidden. Jesus lived with his parents in Nazareth, “under their authority” (Luke 2:51), and there “increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and with people” (Luke 2:52). When we think about Jesus we mostly think about his words and miracles, his passion, death, and resurrection, but we should never forget that before all of that Jesus lived a simple, hidden life in a small town, far away from all the great people, great cities, and great events. Jesus’ hidden life is very important for our own spiritual journeys. If we want to follow Jesus by words and deeds in the service of his Kingdom, we must first of all strive to follow Jesus in his simple, unspectacular, and very ordinary hidden life.

August 2008
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