Dickinson and the Power of the Word?
Sometimes, little to say is just enough:
The one power Dickinson trusted was the power of language, which she loved. And that love is, I think, the main thing I've gained from her, even if I've put it to lesser uses. By her own account she experienced an acute physical reaction to words, a euphoric shock.That's Holland Cotter, writing about Emily Dickinson in "My Hero, the Outlaw of Amherst," for the New York Times (May 11, 2010), and he also notes that she uses words like bullets:
My friend attacks my friend!Cotter quotes only the two lines "Had I a mighty gun / I think I'd shoot the human race." We're fortunate that Dickinson had no "mighty gun" and lived in an age prior to suicide bombing since she seems not to have fully "trusted . . . the power of language" to bring her to glory, unless she was being ironic, which I hope 'true believers' take her as being and presume Cotter was being in calling her "a terrorist" and therefore his "hero."
Oh Battle picturesque!
Then I turn Soldier too,
And he turns Satirist!
How martial is this place!
Had I a mighty gun
I think I'd shoot the human race
And then to glory run!
But perhaps I've said too much . . .