October 10, 2004

How Happy is the Little Stone

My absolute favorite poem from the poetry slam was Shanna's reading of How Happy is the Little Stone, by Emily Dickinson. Shanna did a great job by using the plain little stone as a prop.
This poem is short and simple, but makes a great point. I looked up the word exigencies to get a better interpretation of the poem. The definition I found that best fit was #3: urgent reqirements; pressing needs. Often used in the plural.
This line explains how the stone has no needs...no urgent demans (like most people have). This poem is perfect for college students, because we have all these demands on us from parents, professors, employers and peers. We stress about our complicated lives. We should be more like the sun which "associates or glows alone". This to me means that maybe the sun "mingles" with clouds or rain or birds in the sky...or it sometime stands alone, when the sky is clear. The only thing I don't understand about this poem is the last phrase "Fulfilling absloute decree In casual simplicity". I looked up the word decree and most, if not all the definitions, had to do with law. Maybe it has to do with the mere existence of the stone. Could anyone explain this to me? It would help me better understand and appreciate this poem.

Posted by JenniferHaun at October 10, 2004 08:49 PM

Hello Jennifer,

I am glad to see that a classmate appreciates this poem too. I thought that this poem also contributes to a college students life; therfore, answers the reason why I chose this simple poem.

Now "Fulfilling absolute decree. In casual simplicity". I took this to mean that a rock is a solid mass, and can be extremely heavy. The rock has power to fulfill. Power, which means decree. However, the rock also can be still and calm, which explains simplicity as lack of complication and plainness in manners or way of life. Again, relating to a college student, there are those days when you feel power to conquer and maybe that one day out of the week that is simple or does not involve much thought.

Posted by: ShannaDeFrances at October 11, 2004 01:33 PM

This poem was written during the Transcendentalist period, and writers believed in an "oversoul" that encompasses all living things. "Fulfilling absolute decree" is the stone fulfilling his purpose in this world. "absolute decree" is a reference to god and god's will. "casual simplicity" is another transcendental ideology.

Posted by: Lauren at December 18, 2004 01:22 PM
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