This is my letter to the World
That never wrote to Me—
The simple News that Nature told—
With tender Majesty
Her Message is committedEmily Dickinson, This is my letter to the World
To Hands I cannot see—
For love of Her—Sweet—countrymen—
Judge tenderly—of Me
Like most short poetry, this poem is enigmatic and leaves many more questions than it answers, and how much more so for who wrote it! And there is something poetic – sad and beautiful – considering that this was a letter to the world that was barely meant to be read by anyone. Perhaps some friends, or a family member, read it before her passing. But the world? I wonder if she knew how many would. And that is a sad thought, and yet, she wrote still. She wrote this letter and so many others, these little bits of herself to be found on tiny pieces of paper that others would read later. She wrote, seemingly, without thought of being known much beyond her home. And there is something humble and awe-inspiring in that.
But what is this letter? Who wrote it? And who is it for? It is more than the poem tells us. We know she is writing this one for the world, that world that seems unaware of her very existence. What even was the world? Her family? Her friends? Her community? But the letter she conveys comes from nature, which brought simple news in tender majesty. What a picture here. In my mind, I imagine the morning sun glistening on every dewdrop, whispering the peace of a new day. But what is that message? Again, we do not know, and it’s even beyond Dickinson. Instead, its charge has been given to someone else. God, perhaps? Someone else? Does she even know? And finally, we come to the last two lines. Do we judge tenderly for love of Dickinson, nature, nature’s countrymen? Is she, Dickinson, imploring her own countrymen who may think on her afterward? But she leaves with one final request of this world: judge tenderly of her. And for such a quiet soul, I do not think that is too much to ask.
Blessings to you and yours,
~Madelyn Rose Craig