essential oils

In the aforementioned John Masefield sonnet, he noted “the straitened spirit’s possibility.”  He posited the notion that when the human spirit is “straitened”, or undergoes adversity, it is possible to discover hidden dimensions of life, dimensions of life which empower the individual to soar, “to stream our fiery hour like a comet.”  Emily Dickinson also knew the value adversity:

 

Essential Oils—are wrung—
The Attar from the Rose
Be not expressed by Suns—alone—
It is the gift of Screws—

The General Rose—decay—
But this—in Lady’s Drawer
Make Summer—When the Lady lie
In Ceaseless Rosemary

By the “gift of screws” she was using the image of an old screw press, in which rose leaves were pressed between plates of steel which were tightened together by turning screws.  Thus the essence of the rose was extruded.  She was speaking from experience, that when life’s difficulties weigh down on us it is often possible that “essential oils are wrung.”  She was saying that when “the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir too” (Shakespeare/Hamlet) become overwhelming, we should maintain hope that from this moment something could might follow.

 

 

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