Curtis Zackery | Tell It Slant
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Tell It Slant

The beauty of art appreciation is that we can allow it to speak to us uniquely. There is no established pretense for how we should interpret the work that has been created by the artist. We merely take art in and allow it to speak to us.

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 –

Emily Dickinson is an incredible poet, who was born and lived in the 1800’s. Although it’s been said that she had less than a dozen poems published during her lifetime, there are hundreds available to us today. Her work is unique in its composition, which makes it fun to explore her various styles and use of punctuation.

In this poem, there is the premise that the writer is instructing the reader to tell the whole truth, but govern the amount of truth that we distribute in our communication to avoid the trouble it may cause others. The first time I read “Tell all the truth but tell it slant” though, there were two lines that specifically spoke directly to my heart.

The Truth must dazzle gradually

Or every man be blind —

I felt as though this was a vivid description of my growing appreciation of the way of Jesus in my life. As I’ve pursued a deepening understanding of scripture and grown in affection for the Savior, I’ve been surprised by how wonderful and glorious He truly is. I’ve wondered at times why it has taken so long for me to connect to the appreciation for what it means for me to run with Jesus on earth. I feel like these two lines were an appropriate description of how I feel. It’s like the Spirit knew I couldn’t handle it all at once because it would be too much for my heart to bear.

So, you may be asking, what’s the point of this post?

I am hopeful that we can find ways to appreciate beautiful works of art and seek to find the voice of God within them. Maybe it’s a song, a poem, a painting, a piece of choreography or a sculpture that will speak to you. Whatever the medium, still yourself and appreciate the creative ways that God moves through people, even in ways that may be unbeknownst to the artist.