White Space

I am struck this morning that white space defines the poem. The two writers whose caverns of blankness assert themselves most to me as a reader are Emily Dickinson and Willa Cather. I am also convinced that what I do with lack in my life ultimately defines me, and by lack I don’t mean the deliberate doing without self-imposed by so many evangelicals in my midst. After all, we never starve ourselves to the point of true hunger. This is not Christ’s intention for those He died for–the puffed-up, empty belly. This is not the denying of self that Scriptures portray, this is putting ourselves front and center in the white space. Salvation is truly an end to all doing for It is finished. It’s been done.

Dickinson’s poetry assumes nothing yet feels so complete, but upon closer reading her words, while they rigidly adhere to her “rules,” bleed and run off the page, and yet one feels as though they have consumed her text in a satisfying way, only to find that the stomach still growls for more. What’s in the space this giant doesn’t inhabit? This is what keeps me coming back daily to her poetry.

In life, the emptiness that comes to us when we stop pursuing it is the true lack in the Emily-sense.

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