World Without End

26 Apr 2024 | Glory | 0 comments

This world is not conclusion; A sequel stands beyond,

Invisible, as music, But positive, as sound.


It beckons and it baffles; Philosophies don’t know,

And through a riddle, at the last, Sagacity must go.


To guess it puzzles scholars; To gain it, men have shown

Contempt of generations, And crucifixion known.


Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), Complete Poems, Amehurst, October 1896. ‘Time and Eternity’, Series 3: Part 4:1.

Notes from the Compiler

Sometimes regarded as America's greatest poet, as a young woman Emily Dickinson experienced a conversion which was followed by a brief period of perfect joy, peace and communion with God. However, although she loved her near-ones dearly, she became a recluse preoccupied with death and immortality. These two subjects came to dominate her intense inner life. She stopped going to church, but was sustained by her belief in love and eternal life. She could write, 'I find ecstasy in living - the mere sense of living is joy enough', and, 'Love lasts - all there is.' In this poem, 'This world is not conclusion', she draws on the hope that Jesus Christ shared with the penitent criminal on the cross. Its possibility is enshrined in the Christian doctrine of the Ascension at this time of the year. 'Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise' (Luke 23:43).


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