A True New Englander Artist Whispers in my Ear...

DAY TWO - New England Painting Tour
by Seth Ruggles Hiler (MFA 2005)

Seth gazes out over a spectacular vista (wishing he could
have hiked his easel and canvas up to the summit!)
Although radical to conventional religious belief, the poem “Some Keep the Sabbath Going to Church” by Emily Dickinson explains how nature serves as a place of worship for this great American artist. She lived in a small New England 19th century town. So, I saw fit to share her words with you as I describe my 21st Century New England adventure...

(I hope not to offend with her replacement of traditional understandings of certain religions. Dickinson’s metaphors enrich and enlighten my experience of nature and the sublime. This sounds rather grand when discussing a writer of such simple meter, but for me it is the truth. Just to clue my contemporary readers in: the “bobolink” is a songbird and provides the music of the poet’s sacred outdoor space.)

Some Keep the Sabbath Going to Church (#324)

SOME keep the Sabbath going to Church - 

I keep it, staying at Home - 

With a Bobolink for a Chorister - 

And an Orchard, for a Dome - 

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice -
I just wear my Wings -
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church, 

Our little Sexton - sings. 

God preaches, a noted Clergyman - 

And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last - 

I'm going, all along!

- Emily Dickinson


Seth Ruggles Hiler

Seth Ruggles Hiler is an artist and arts educator from Boonton, NJ. He received a BFA from Syracuse University in 2002 and an MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2005. He is a portrait painter at heart, but landscape is his mistress. Grab your French easel and enjoy the ride!

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