The name

I think I should explain the title of this blog in case you’re wondering. I’ll do this beauty pageant style.

Coming in third, purely in my subjective opinion, was the title Like Breadths of Topaz which comes from Emily Dickinson’s poem ‘304’. As you’ll begin to understand in a moment, I really like her work. I think this line would make a fantastic name for a blog, particularly one which talks about beautiful things. This might not be precisely where my main interests will lie in this blog, so I passed.

In the runner-up position was the candidate title The Gambrels of the Sky from her majestic ‘657’. It has the advantage of occupying a smaller corner in search engine space, because who besides architecturally-minded folks talks about “gambrels?” Lovely as this is, it makes me think of more heavenly realms than I expect to visit given the times we live in.

The winning title And Zero at the Bone is the last line of Dickinson’s tense masterpiece ‘986’ well worth quoting here in its entirety:

A narrow Fellow in the Grass
Occasionally rides -
You may have met Him? Did you not
His notice instant is-

The Grass divides as with a Comb -
A spotted shaft is seen,
And then it closes at your Feet
And opens further on -

He likes a Boggy Acre -
A Floor too cool for Corn -
But when a Boy and Barefoot
I more than once at Noon

Have passed I thought a Whip Lash
Unbraiding in the Sun
When stooping to secure it
It wrinkled And was gone -

Several of Nature's People
I know, and they know me
I feel for them a transport
Of cordiality

But never met this Fellow,
Attended or alone
Without a tighter Breathing
And Zero at the Bone.

To me it has a tautness coming from the uncertainty as to what exactly the speaker is observing, and ends with the most visceral of reactions I can imagine. Now that’s something to aspire to no matter what the subject is, if you can touch your reader that deeply, not stopping at the skin or the flesh but striking something hard down at the center, then I would say you’ve accomplished something. And so now you know why this collection is called what it is.

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