“I dwell in Possibility — / A fairer House than Prose,” quoth Emily Dickinson.
I always stop and look at that juxtaposition: possibility vs. prose. Not poetry vs. prose, nor yet again possibility vs. certainty — negative or positive certainty.
I suspect Dickinson wanted me to look at it. To think that somehow she means poetry and possibility are the same — that in poetry, things are possible which in prose are not. Possibility has more windows and superior doors, she goes on to say, and I wonder about this.
Poetry is tight, limiting in some ways. And yet it escapes the usual rules of punctuation and syntax and even parallelism. In poetry, you may behave as though “possibility” and “prose” are two of the same sort of thing — which they aren’t — and moreover behave as though the things which both of them are are houses in which one may dwell. In prose, such behavior is nonsensical. And if we’re picking which house to inhabit, possibility or prose, I’m going to pick possibility every time.
Moreover, I think that’s where I do live.
I live in the King’s not-of-this-world kingdom. The kingdom into which entrance is as simple as fitting an ordinary camel through an ordinary needle’s eye.
“Who then can be saved?” the astonished disciples asked. But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19:24-26)
In prose terms — dealing with facts and human reality as we know it — no one gets in. But by the grace of God, all things are possible, and through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous (Romans 5:19).
But Dickinson is wrong about possibility in this one thing: she said “doors,” but there’s only one door here, Jesus Christ, who says, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and find pasture” — pasture in possibility! — and who also says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 10:9, 14:6).
Nonetheless, this one Door is superior. Christ is the door who came to seek and save us — not a door waiting to be found (Luke 19:10). He is the door who comes knocking — inviting us into fellowship with Him (Rev. 3:20).
Come, camel, in through this needle’s eye, and find pasture. In the Father’s fair house, be small and glad with me.
©2015 by Stacy Nott