Sally Cook, As New England Used To Be; acrylic on stretched canvas, hand-painted frame, 20 inches x 24 inches; Image courtesy of the artist
FROM THE POEM -- "What is Paradise" : ca. 1860 by Emily Dickenson:
What is - "Paradise" -
Who live there -
Are they "Farmers" -
Do they "hoe" -
Do they know that this is "Amherst" -
And that I - am coming - too -
Do they wear "new shoes" - in Eden -
Is it always pleasant - there -
Won't they scold us - when we're homesick -
Or tell God - how cross we are -
You are sure there's such a person
As "a Father" - in the sky -
So if I get lost - there - ever -
Or do what the Nurse calls "die" -
I shan't walk the "Jasper" - barefoot -
Ransomed folks - won't laugh at me -
Maybe - "Eden" a'nt so lonesome
As New England used to be!
"In my painting "As New England Used To Be", Emily Dickinson reclines on pillows piled on a garden settee under a tropical New England sky of orange, in a paradisiacal setting of flowers. As she waits alone, at repose, yet tense with waiting, she reflects on the true nature of paradise.
Emily loves to play the innocent. Will there ever be someone to take care of her? Can either of us be sure we can survive without such an authority? I have found it difficult but possible; and Emily did, too. In this world perhaps that is as much Paradise as either of us, being artists, can ever expect to receive - an opportunity granted, for each of us, to make our own ways as poet and painter.
We will be cared for in some sort of paradise. This is our lesson to be learned. Working toward this fulfillment, each alone in our own New England, we must endure a lonesome time with only the eventual rewards of our own artistic journeys to anticipate."