“The Sun and the Moon have no choice in their existence”

In her essay for the Spring 2010 issue of the Core Journal, Fabiana Cabral explicates Emily Dickinson’s poem, “It Sifts from Leaden Sieves,” in which–Cabral argues–Dickinson is declaring man’s mortality as a kind of freedom:

The Sun and the Moon have no choice in their existence. As eternal figures, they must remain in the sky until God sees fit to knock them down. But the snow, although doomed to melt and to cease to exist in its current state, is not fixed, and thus it is free.

The snow, like Man, can separate and condense at will; likewise, an individual can isolate itself and join others at will. What remains constant is its choice. Man and snow are the “figures” suspended in the “baseless Arc.” Yes, they are at the mercy of the juggler, and yet for that brief moment that they are “situated” in the air they stand alone, “baseless” and free: they manage to stand even though they are unsupported by eternity. Their transience allows them to do this, much like a juggler’s balls cannot remain standing alone in the air for long, but only for an instant. [from “The Twining of Volition with Transience in Dickinson’s Conception of Man,” published in Creó, the journal of the Arts & Sciences Core Curriculum, No. 19]

The journal committee will convene early in Fall 2010 to assemble an editorial team for the 20th issue. Keep an eye for notice, if you’d like to be involved!

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