Emily Dickinson was mad as a hatter and that is why she could leave us such a treasure trove of poetry. Now if she had been completely mad her poetry would have been incomprehensible and thus would not have merited the term “poetry.” But, in her case, she brings a different perspective on reality as do all good poets. She looked at things differently from her cloistered little room upstairs in her prominent father’s house.
Here she writes a poem about a boat that got pulled too far from the shore and its “perspective monitor” ( i.e. “observing ego”) was oblivious to the fact that “my little craft was lost.” I think Emily’s “little craft” got very near the edge often but it never completely got lost and thus she left us the aforementioned treasure trove of poetry.
‘Twas such a little—little boat
That toddled down the bay!
‘Twas such a gallant—gallant sea
That beckoned it away!
‘Twas such a greedy, greedy wave
That licked it from the Coast—
Nor ever guessed the stately sails
My little craft was lost!
Perspective is everything. That is all we have. If we lose sight of this fact, we have succumbed to the ministrations of those “greedy, greedy” waves. If we remember the fact that we only have a perspective, then we can echo the words of the Apostle Paul, “We see through a glass darkly.” And someone else once noted, “We can’t have a perspective on our perspective without somehow escaping it.”