Can Poetry Be Abstract?

No Coward Soul Is Mine   No coward soul is mine No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere I see Heaven’s glories shine And Faith shines equal arming me from Fear   O God within my breast Almighty ever-present Deity Life, that in me hast rest As I Undying Life, have power in thee   Vain are the thousand creeds That move men’s hearts, unutterably vain, Worthless as withered weeds Or idlest froth amid the boundless main   To waken doubt in one Holding so fast by thy infinity                                                                                    So surely anchored on The steadfast rock of Immortality                                                                                                        With wide-embracing love Thy spirit animates eternal years Pervades and broods above, Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates and rears   Though Earth and moon were gone And suns and universes ceased to be And thou wert left alone Every Existence would exist in thee   There is not room for Death Nor atom that his might could render void Since thou art Being and Breath And what thou art may never be destroyed                Emily Jane Brontë, who died in 1848 at the age of thirty, left this poem in a largely unpunctuated manuscript. It was not included, by her own decision, in the first printing of some of her poems in 1846, but it was added posthumously, under the non-authorial title “Last Lines,” to the second edition of 1850, conventionally punctuated and revised by her sister Charlotte. Brontë’s modern editor, Janet Gezari, reproduced Charlotte’s version in 1992 in an appendix to her Emily Brontë: The Complete Poems, but has in the body of her edition removed Charlotte’s additions, printing only the manuscript. I reproduce the manuscript version. Emily Dickinson, a few months before she died in 1886, wishing to forbid a church funeral, left instructions

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