Feel as if the top of my head were taken off

In 1870, Emily Dickinson was said to describe poetry this way:

 “If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?”

 And, then you read a book, that does exactly that.

If only I knew what “last” meant. “There is no now,” my father would say, banging his cane on the floor on the word now. “As soon as you say the word, it’s already in the past. When is it? There isn’t one.” This is the only moment and it has already passed. The only things suspending time are children and cross-country travel. Not even all our stars are moving, that was light-years ago; it’s only us here, dying as slowly as we can.

~ Mary-Louise Parker, “Dear Doctor.” Dear Mr. You (Scribner. 2015)



  1. Love that quote from ED.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “dying as slowly as we can” so we can savor every moment…thats for sure. Great quotes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay. Just downloaded on kindle.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “…dying as slowly as we can.” For those of us who have parents who are very old now, that’s hard to read. And Michael’s dad has a completely different take on it. Whenever Michael asks him, “How’s life, dad?” his dad says, “It’s taking too long.” Funny and sad at the same time, when you consider that his wife passed away a few years ago and he is bedridden now. For me, I feel like I’m standing at the in-between stage…knowing what was before and knowing what is coming. Aging is a pretty difficult thing. I’m going to read that book.

    Liked by 1 person

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