Emily Dickinson and the Best Laugh Ever

Last night after Pearl was asleep, I went out to the living room where Aviva was sitting on the couch. I snuggled up next to her, and we just sat there quietly for a few minutes, tired after a very busy weekend.

Then she suggested we play a game where we try to make each other laugh.

I got her with my rendition of Taylor Swift and the bleating goat singing Trouble, and we each took a few turns cracking each other up before I brought the stool into it as a prop and played a weird schoolteacher after summer vacation. A couple turns later, I grabbed an old favorite anthology from the bookshelf, These Are Not Sweet Girls, and read an English translation of a poem called Manifesto by the late Puertorriqueña poet Olga Nolla, which Aviva said she found “offensive” because “not all women want men to bring them flowers and like painting their toenails red.”

Next thing I knew, she pulled out all the stops and started reading Emily Dickinson. And I had the best laugh in recent memory (rivaled perhaps only by the time I told Mani in the middle of the night that we were whales together in a past lifetime). I asked her permission to share it here, and she said yes.

As Maezen recently wrote on Facebook, Of course there is pain. But there is dancing. And singing. And reciting poetry and laughing your head off with your fabulous kid.

And here’s the text of the poem (#501), in case you want to follow the bouncing ball:

This World is not Conclusion.
A Species stands beyond—
Invisible, as Music—
But positive, as Sound—
It beckons, and it baffles—
Philosophy—don’t know—
And through a Riddle, at the last—
Sagacity, must go—
To guess it, puzzles scholars—
To gain it, Men have borne
Contempt of Generations
And Crucifixion, shown—
Faith slips—and laughs, and rallies—
Blushes, if any see—
Plucks at a twig of Evidence—
And asks a Vane, the way—
Much Gesture, from the Pulpit—
Strong Hallelujahs roll—
Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul—

3 thoughts on “Emily Dickinson and the Best Laugh Ever

  1. Zeffa Kinney says:

    Thank YOU, Aviva! Love this. We do a lot of laughing in our house, too. We should make sure we never get together.



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