There are honours to be gained when it comes to fighting. That is the main subject of poem 126, written by Emily Dickinson. This is To fight aloud is very brave.
Yes, it takes courage to fight. In this poem, Dickinson takes the stand for those who fought for their country. This is nothing compared to living and dying quietly, just the same as she did. Dickinson lived a life of seclusion and this was her own choice.
The value of these silent battles and attempts to accomplish peace, they should be worth to cherish according to Dickinson. There is also another twist to this poem, as she claims that the struggles to overcome difficulties in life may well be even more of a war. It is all about believing in the right cause. This gives honour.
Who charge within the bosom
The cavalry of woe
Oh yes, she describes a part of an army (any army); the cavalry (an army component mounted on horseback). It’s the word woe, that indicates that this is in fact not an army. The word woe indicates grief or regret. This is the silent battle that Dickinson tells us about. Those cavaliers ride and they fight but in the bosom. There is more.
Cavalry may also be Calvary. This is related to Christianity and especially the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. Though, it is uncertain, that Dickinson was going for this approach.
There is also so much sadness in this poem, as she realizes that she will probably die without being that person, who made a difference. She is one that the nation will not see. In a way she was right. The Dickinson fame began after her death. That is why she thinks, those who stay in the shadow (in her case: seclusion), should deserve the honours too.
This poem is her own tribute. Also for those, who deserve the honour they need without demanding this. Isn’t that an inspiration for many of us, who don’t seek the spotlights and don’t need the attention? Think about it, there is definitely someone amongst your family and friends.
To fight aloud is very brave
To fight aloud is very brave,
But gallanter, I know,
Who charge within the bosom,
The cavalry of woe.
Who win, and nations do not see,
Who fall, and none observe,
Whose dying eyes no country
Regards with patriot love.
We trust, in plumed procession,
For such the angels go,
Rank after rank, with even feet
And uniforms of snow.
Emily Dickinson Month
This poem is published as part of our Emily Dickinson Month.