The Perfection of Reclusion

Daffodil buds were growing out of the mud. Pastoral views overlooked what I had come to walking so far with one who would leave me that youthful February of awkward rendezvous and sixteen aging years with glimpses of sun in-between the clouds. Something to go back to even if I never could.

Copyright 2015 by DM Denton

Copyright 2015 by DM Denton

A story emerging from the memory of my imagination has, more than once, become my life. Well, that was when I thought I was the story. Now I know I’m just the teller of the tale, a balladeer singing the music of silence. A freeing realization and, perhaps, a necessary one for my evolution into a writer whose most creative stimulation is as an onlooker, a solitary soul, a lover of love without a lover, a childless woman with many offspring, a traveler going nowhere and so anywhere. An elusive chanteuse more comforted by ghosts and longings than is good for me, I prefer possibility over certainty and need to disappear for the words to appear—often in conflict with these striving, competitive and extroverted times, but never without a vision, interest or objective in hope of satisfying my muse.

I recently came across an opinion that the perfection of Emily Dickinson’s “art” was the perfection of her reclusion. Another way of putting it might be that the perfection of her “art” was her lack of distractions. Like striving and competition. Like thinking what her poetry should be.  Like wondering if anyone would ever know it lived. She asked if her poems breathed and was told they weren’t publishable. How very fortunate her lack of participation in what she called “the auction of the mind” didn’t prevent her breathing into eternity.

What motivated her to write nearly 2000 poems when no one was waiting for her fragmented and faint scribbles on scraps of paper, envelope flaps, and even a chocolate wrapper? Some creative individuals need an incubating space around them—a chrysalis as William Du Bois described it—for longer than others, even forever; like Emily Dickinson, her spirit perpetually on the verge of emergence into its winged perfect state.

For me, that is the essence of creativity no matter what medium it finds its expression through or whether anyone but its creator is involved in it: always in a state of metamorphosis, within its cocoon seemingly inactive while preparing for birth. The timing is its own, for it knows when it is ready to fly, very few eyes noticing its colors in flight all the more beautiful when unconscious of being noticed or not.

Like those daffodils that weren’t there and then they were—reaching up, opening, sighing, and shriveling down—not for me or anyone else, not for anything defined by ego or expectation, not for anything but the earthly and unearthly breath of being.

Copyright 2015 by DM Denton

Copyright 2015 by DM Denton


Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them. ~ Anaïs Nin


donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

25 thoughts on “The Perfection of Reclusion

  1. I’m reading Emily Dickinson at the moment and I must say I find her hard going, quite hard going but then I am a bit of a dullard when it comes to reading poetry!

    The art of “writing”, what is it but silence filled with the sound of our souls aching, crying, laughing, loving or simply creaking against the breezes of our solitudes for we cannot write in pairs, we are the quite ones who appear like snowdrops only to fade and reappear as daffodils and on until we bloom into the roses of poetry waiting for winter to steal our petals once more and so we prune, and we wait until the butterfly lands upon our fingers xx


    • I think the secret to reading Emily Dickinson, Martin, is not to try to analyze or look for meaning (which doesn’t mean you won’t find it). I believe she wrote from her sense of separation, sorrows, losses and secret joys, but also, at times, with a sense of fun … of playing with the reader … and, of course, with words. Not unlike your lovely thoughts on the art of “writing.” You’re not a dullard in reading poetry or any way at all. Thanks for your thoughtful – or should I say, soulful – comment. Hope all is well. Blessings, my friend. xo.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Diane,

    Your writing and your art are wonderful. This brought tears to my eyes.

    Of course a beautiful soul such as you, could never be alone. You feed
    our souls with the beauty of your work, and in every stroke of brush or
    pen, or keyboard, you bring hope and light into lives that are hungry for
    it. You are a free spirit who is loved by all of us. I am reminded too
    that sometimes being with someone can be the loneliest place of all.

    This is an inspiring piece that is sure to turn every reader introspective.



  3. Hello Diane, I love your robin and daffodils and I find a home nestled in your thoughtful words. Creativity finds it’s own home, pace and timing and it’s a blessing to share yours. ❤ xXx


  4. Lovely thoughts, Diane, and artists have true souls, creating when the time is right, when their muse visits, when happiness embraces their hearts or sadness makes them ache. Whatever the time there are no expectations. Your artwork is beautiful, as always, along with your writing. My family and I were just discussing you and our Copper drawings last night at dinner, praising your talents. 🙂 Hugs, my friend…♥


    • Thank you so much, Lauren! And I’m so thrilled that the Copper paintings bring pleasure to you and your family. I just got a commission from a woman in Australian to paint a picture of her daughter’s border collie as a birthday present to her. Hugs right back at you! XO ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. To find your lovely art is such a nice present from the internet that sometimes seems a box of Pandora. It is good you are finding your way in this life, doing what you are doing, and what makes you you. An artist, a writer, and a very dear friend 🙂 ❤ xxx


  6. Love this Diane and so lovely to witness your emergence from the cocoon to share this beautiful piece with us.

    Up until my illness I was always very busy, too busy I think, being wrapped up in a lot of external stuff. Not that I’m shrugging that off in any way because some of the busyness was very valuable and my creativity was able to shine among the busyness as I crafted soft toys, made my own and children’s clothes etc etc. but I always felt there was more of me somewhere but I couldn’t seem to access it. Strange how adversity works because now I love the silence of the cocoon so much. I like your description “the music of silence” – perfect.

    Love and many hugs of friendship and gratitude ❤️ Xxx


    • Thank you, Christine. Don’t think I ever really emerge from the cocoon … my wings always a little wet … it’s a special one that I can retreat into frequently. 🙂 Creativity manifests itself in many ways throughout our lives … but with some of us, our true vocation, that flickers within us, shines out in the end. As with you! I’ve been writing as long as I have been able to write and been alone more often than not – then I never had children, and even when I “had” a husband I was mostly on my own. My family is very small and I don’t “do well” in social situations. My writing, painting and other creative activities have filled my life more than people have. I’m blessed that the muse has been patient and hung in there with me.

      I think, considering where you are now, the silence of the cocoon is a very healing, leveling place. Love and hugs, XO ❤


  7. A chrysalis, absolutely! To think how many artists, writer… never knew how valued their work would be after they were gone. I like the analogy of the daffodil with the work inside the cocoon. 🙂


    • So nice to see you here, Lea, and thank you! One wonders how many great “artists” have never been valued by the world outside their cocoon … That being said, even unnoticed, the value is there … just as a flower is beautiful even when it blooms unseen by human eyes. Hope all is very well with you. XO


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