FAR from love the Heavenly Father
Leads the chosen child;
Oftener through realm of briar
Than the meadow mild,
Oftener by the claw of dragon
Than the hand of friend,
Guides the little one predestined
To the native land.
I want to do an alternate reading of this poem wherein the little child is delighted to be led by giant dragons who, let’s be real here, are way more interesting than the generic “friend.” The Realm of Briar is a faerie court of wonderfully fey beings, and maybe when the child arrives at the “predestined” land, she turns around and goes back to have the adventure all over again rather than settling for the ease of a life of milk and honey.
But I know what Dickinson is really saying, and I’m feeling it. It’s been a dragony week–a dragony month, beset with obstacles and setbacks of all kinds. I am trying to take comfort in these words, in the idea that all of this struggling is leading somewhere better. It’s hard to see the promised land for the briars when you’re smack in the middle of them, though.