there’s a certain slant of light


geneva cathedral light

The real reason I flew to California last month is that someone I love very much is quite ill. Emily Dickenson seems to have written the brief on how I feel about it:

There’s a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the heft
Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.

The illness is a taunter, winding back its arm with a bit of brick in the hand but stopping just short of bashing at us, because of the light. This light feels too white and too hot — it’s illuminating too much humanity all at once. Anxiety. Tenderness. Anger. Hope. Mourning. Laughter. Courage. Community.

It’s the heft of cathedral tunes, and it makes my heart ache, it’s so beautiful.