Monday, September 19, 2011

Words of Wisdom From Emily Dickinson

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant---
Success in Cirrcuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind---


  1. That first line is often quoted, but I don't recall the rest of the poem, if I ever knew it. I'm a bit baffled by the second and third lines: "Success in Cirrcuit lies/Too bright for our infirm Delight." What does "cirrcuit" refer to? The last two lines are fabulous:
    "The Truth must dazzle gradually/Or every man be blind---".

    Thanks Joyce. :)

  2. Manny, the way I've always interpreted this poem (and I'm no literary expert) is that how you convey the truth has much to do with how well it will be received. That is one of my interpretations. The other impression I have, and it is less than my first interpretation, is that she's saying we can't always handle the truth, so we tell it in a way we find palatable, thus shading it a bit. Hope that makes sense.

  3. Yes, I think you are interpreting it correctly, especially only being able to handle the truth. But I still can't figure out the second and third lines.

  4. It made me think of how kind God is to us in the way He reveals Truths to us, in 1. a way we can understand and 2.ways we can digest and respond to it.
    thinking of us as His children...maybe Emily didn't intend it that way, but that's just where my mind went with it.

  5. In other words, "You will communicate more successfully if you approach the truth circuitously." And the "too bright" refers to the lightning-flash of the truth - it will blind us if revealed all at once.


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