Tell All The Truth But Tell It Slant
By: Emily Dickinson
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant --
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind --
This is probably one of my favorite poems of all time. I really enjoy Emily Dickinson because she writes about every day things rather than the fantastical. In this particular poem she relates truth to lightning and how people handle the truth. Some people can take the whole truth and some people can only take it piece by piece.
I am often reminded of two movies when I read this poem, A Few Good Men and The Dead Poets Society. In A Few Good Men the quote "You can't handle the truth" is very reminiscent of this poem because many people think they want the truth but in reality they want only the truth they were looking for, not the complete picture. In The Dead Poets Society you have a similar idea only in reference to personal truths. Who are we as people? Who are we expected to be? Who will we be? And will we let popular consensus overpower what we know is right?
Emily Dickinson probably had no idea the ripple effect she had created when she wrote this poem but it really is quite amazing to see how it relates to how we handle ourselves and how we handle each other. Would you want the whole truth regardless of the fallout? Or would you like it piece by piece so you can mull it over and not be startled?
Personally, I am a whole truth kind of gal. The truth can be messy and sometimes painful but it's kind of like taking off a band aid, the longer it takes the more you are irritated by it.