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30 March 2014

'Tis not that Dying hurts us so —

'Tis not that Dying hurts us so —
'Tis Living — hurts us more —
But Dying — is a different way —
A kind behind the Door —

The Southern Custom — of the Bird —
That ere the Frosts are due —
Accepts a better Latitude —
We — are the Birds — that stay.

The Shiverers round Farmers' doors —
For whose reluctant Crumb —
We stipulate — till pitying Snows
Persuade our Feathers Home.

                                                            F528 (1863)  J335

For a little context on the poem I'm borrowing David Preest's excellent introduction to it:
This poem ends a letter (L278) Emily wrote to her cousins, Louise and FrancesNorcross, on the death of their father on 7 January 1863. She is at her tenderest in condolence letters such as this and in another letter (L279) written to her cousins a week or so later. In the first letter she tactfully asks them, ‘Wasn’t dear papa so tired always after mamma went, and wasn’t it almost sweet to think of the two together these winter nights? The grief is our side, darlings, and the glad is theirs.’  …. And she ends the letter with these words which lead into the poem, ‘Good-night. Let Emily sing for you because she cannot pray.

I find those final words quite moving. The poem is like a song. Written in hymn form (alternating iambic tetrameter and trimeter lines in quatrains), you could sing it quite easily to the tune of "Amazing Grace". Like a good hymn, it is a very visual poem. We can see the newly dead finding a hidden path behind the door between life and death. Then, shifting back to this world, we see the cold and hopeful birds hanging about a farmhouse. We imagine the farmer tossing out a scanty handful of crumbs from time to time, the birds swooping down hungrily from nearby trees.

The last quatrain is an anti-prayer from the poet who "cannot pray". Over-wintering birds may hover around praying for crumbs, but it is ultimately the soft, lovely, lethal snow that comes to them – to us – unbidden. Prayer might bring crumbs, but the true home, the "better Latitude", is what we should aim for. Those who stay behind hoping for the farmers' largesse seem pitiful to us and also, it would seem, to the delivering "pitying Snows".

We have seen both the niggardly crumb and the ease of snow in earlier poems.  In “Victory comes late” (F195) the speaker bitterly complains about dining on crumbs. There the table of plenty is Victory and it is God who keeps it out of reach. Those yearning for its bounty must “dine on tiptoe". "Was God so economical?" the poet asks, and the same question might be asked of the farmer so stingy with his crumbs.
            In contrast, the snow seems generous. Dickinson has used snow imagery in several ways – as purity, leaves of poetry, steadfastness, and death. As a metaphor for death, it presages spring and rebirth; it is "that long town of White – to cross – / Before the Blackbirds sing!" (F265). In F372, "After great pain, a formal feeling comes –", we see a snow death: "First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go –". While at first there is cold and growing stupefaction, there is finally the assent to snow's persuasion, a gentle letting go.
            The last line of the poem reminds me of "A Bird came down the Walk" (F359) where the poet offers a bird a crumb (not at all reluctantly). The bird is too wary to accept, however, "And he unrolled his feathers / And rowed him softer Home –". The image here, as in the poem under discussion, is of a gentle ending. The bird's trip "Home" is as soft as butterflies leaping "plashless" off "Banks of Noon". The snow is likewise soft: it persuades without ruffling a feather.
And who but Dickinson could phrase death as "Persuade our Feathers Home"? It's a beautiful image that at once engages the association of bird with spirit as well as home with heaven. As a consolatory poem the ending is exceedingly lovely and gracious.

As a final thought on Dickinson's statement that she cannot pray, she covered that ground a couple of poems ago in "My period had come for Prayer –" (F525).  Although she felt an urgent need to pray, she realized that the God to whom she was trying to speak was nowhere to be found. Instead, she found "Vast Prairies of Air", Infinitude, Silence, and Creation. Her epiphany was that prayer was perhaps irrelevant, that to confront the Silence is to enter into worship.

28 March 2014

One Anguish — in a Crowd —

One Anguish — in a Crowd —
A Minor thing — it sounds —
And yet, unto the single Doe
Attempted of the Hounds

'Tis Terror as consummate
As Legions of Alarm
Did leap, full flanked, upon the Host —
'Tis Units — make the Swarm —

A Small Leech — on the Vitals —
The sliver, in the Lung —
The Bung out — of an Artery —
Are scarce accounted — Harms —

Yet might — by relation
To that Repealless thing —
A Being — impotent to end —
When once it has begun —
                       F527 (1863)  J565

The poem uses two analogies to talk about suffering. The first stanza introduces the terrors of the individual person or doe: One individual's anguish shouldn't seem so bad: what is one sufferer among many who suffer not? The pain of one person amid a crowd can seem a "Minor thing" – perhaps there is an acceptable ratio. Dickinson then pivots to the image of a terrified doe, and while the two images are not parallel – the doe pursued by hounds seems nothing like an anguished human amid a crowd, I think Dickinson means us to see an anguished person as one set upon by metaphorical dogs of torment. The focus of the first stanza is on the terrorized human, not the doe.  
        The second stanza provides the analogy: the terror of this onslaught of torment is like that of an army, "the Host", suddenly attacked by a much greater force. The army is panicked and overwhelmed. The attacking soldiers, the "Units", are like the individual dogs in the hunting pack. The pack, the Legions, the "Swarm" are comprised of individuals, too, but these act en masse. The word "Swarm" is terrifying in itself here. One pictures the doe being pulled down and covered by the attacking bodies of dogs. One imagines a single army surprised, outnumbered, and likewise being cut down and covered by the swarm of attackers. One then sees the individual being cut down by invisible woes.
A Deer Chased by Dogs,
by Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1725
The third stanza moves to the physical human body. Like the army host, it can be overrun by swarms of harms. They might be minor –  a leech set on a patient by a physician, a small fault in the lung, or blood that no longer clots properly. The "Repealless thing" of death begins for most of us with these small physical failures. By themselves they are "scarce accounted – Harms – ", but inexorably they add up. There is nothing we can do about it either. As some would say, we begin the slide to death at the moment of birth.

I don't particularly fancy this poem. The progression of images doesn't quite work. The overall idea of swarms of harm leading to misery, terror and death, isn't made new or fresh. Perhaps a reader will have a more interesting take on this poem.

24 March 2014

I pay — in Satin Cash —

I pay — in Satin Cash —
You did not state — your price —
A Petal, for a Paragraph
Is near as I can guess —
                  F526 (1863)  J402

Scholar Judith Farr reads this witty poem as Dickinson's offer to pay correspondents with flowers – the longer their letters to her, the more petals Dickinson would include in her response. This makes some sense as Dickinson did indeed send flowers to friends. 
Auguste Toulmouche, 1866.
Detail from The Reluctant Bride

"Satin Cash" also conjures the lovely gowns and ribbons worn by women of the time. While Victorian women were raised to be and to be regarded as untouchable, their gowns signaled sexual readiness. From their silk and satin fabrics to the wasp waists, hoops and crinolines, the gowns promised sensuality and fertility. Young maidens venturing out to their first balls would surely be wearing the finest "Satin Cash" their fathers could afford. The dress might well attract a man of means. 

23 March 2014

My period had come for Prayer —

My period had come for Prayer —
No other Art — would do —
My Tactics missed a rudiment —
Creator — Was it you?

God grows above — so those who pray
Horizons — must ascend —
And so I stepped upon the North
To see this Curious Friend —

His House was not — no sign had He —
By Chimney — nor by Door
Could I infer his Residence —
Vast Prairies of Air

Unbroken by a Settler —
Were all that I could see —
Infinitude — Had'st Thou no Face
That I might look on Thee?

The Silence condescended —
Creation stopped — for Me —
But awed beyond my errand —
I worshipped — did not "pray" —
                               F525 (1863)  J564

In astronomy, a subject Dickinson studied and enjoyed throughout her life, the term "period" refers to the length of time it takes an object to complete one revolution of its orbit or one complete rotation on its axis. In this poem, Dickinson has reached a point in her life's orbit where she felt the need to pray – nothing else "would do". And so she ventures out in astronomical space, for "those who pray / … – must ascend" to the realms above where "God grows". By "north" Dickinson is probably hearkening back to the Bible.  In the book of Job (37:22), she would have read "Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty." 
The poem begins with a lighthearted tone despite the speaker's urgent need to pray. Clearly frustrated in her attempt, she blames her "Tactics" for missing a "rudiment" of prayer. She then drolly asks God, her "Curious Friend", if this "rudiment" might be him. That's a bit cheeky!   

The speaker consequently embarks on her search for God, and the next three stanzas offer some details of her journey – still in the bantering tone. "His House was not – no sign had He" is a sing-songy bit of chiasmus, and the sketch of the poet going about the heavens looking for a door or chimney is humorous. 
Throughout her search, all the poet sees are "Vast Prairies of Air". She finally addresses God as "Infinitude" – a deepening of respect and awe. While looking for a friendly face, perhaps the grandfatherly god of much Christian art, she finds infinity instead.
The last stanza pivots to epiphany. The silence of unbroken infinity is suddenly open to her; "Creation" stops "– for Me–" she adds in amazement. The realization that she herself is axis, is at the heart of Creation, fills her with such awe that prayer and petition were forgotten in the exaltation of worship.
It is a larger sense of the divine, I think, that to reverence a Deity who listens to prayers as if a parent.

The poem is written in common ballad form except the last stanza which is all in iambic trimeter. That stanza is given additional emphasis by the alliteration of "condescended" and "Creation". The "stopped" followed by a dash really does stop the poem. It's the key moment as the poet finally gives up tactics for Silence and Infinitude.

20 March 2014

It feels a shame to be Alive —

It feels a shame to be Alive —
When Men so brave — are dead —
One envies the Distinguished Dust —
Permitted — such a Head —

The Stone — that tells defending Whom
This Spartan put away
What little of Him we — possessed
In Pawn for Liberty —

The price is great — Sublimely paid —
Do we deserve — a Thing —
That lives — like Dollars — must be piled
Before we may obtain?

Are we that wait — sufficient worth —
That such Enormous Pearl
As life — dissolved be — for Us —
In Battle's — horrid Bowl?

It may be — a Renown to live —
I think the Men who die —
Those unsustained — Saviors —
Present Divinity —
                                  F524 (1863)  J444

Early in 1863, the year this poem was written, Dickinson wrote to her "Preceptor" Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson, then serving as commander of the first regiment of freed slaves. "War feels to me an oblique Place" (L280), she said. It follows then that few of her nearly 1800 poems can be considered true war poems. This is one of them. 
1863 was also the year Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves. The battle of Gettysburg, bloodiest battle of the war with nearly 100,000 casualties, was fought a few months later.  With these momentous events and her concern over Colonel Higginson, it is no wonder that the price of freedom would have been on the poet's mind. 
 "Hancock at Gettysbug" by Thure de Thulstrup,
showing Pickett's Charge

In this poem Dickinson ponders over the bloodshed and lives lost in the cause of "Liberty". Do we deserve it, she asks? 

What a question! The Civil War was fought over slavery: the right to own slaves and reap the economic benefit vs. the corrosive effects of slavery on the republic – to say nothing of the yearning and rights of the slaves themselves. (Yes, there were other factors, but I'm convinced by Doris Kearns Goodwin's conclusion in her highly regarded biography of Abraham Lincoln that ultimately the war was waged over slavery). Who would question such a battle, particularly after all the arts of statecraft and compromise had been exhausted in preceding years?

Dickinson, however, places herself where she can ask that question – as one for whom the battle is fought. 

On a cursory read the poem seems to be about honoring soldiers who die for the good of their country. They are "Pawn for Liberty", their lives forfeit. But for whose liberty are they dying? 
When Dickinson asks if "we that wait" are worth the enormous price paid in blood, how can she be referring to anyone other than the slaves waiting for emancipation? She asks if "we deserve" the bodies piled "like Dollars" – and this, too, must be from the slaves' point of view.
Dickinson also makes reference to the Spartans who died heroically in their doomed stand against a huge invading Persian army in 480 BCE. Did the civilian Greeks for whom they fought wonder at the price paid? Did the farmers and herders and townspeople reckon themselves of "sufficient worth"? (For the sake of the poem we should overlook the fact that Thermopylae was essentially a defeat for Greece.)
I find her question deeply humanistic. What is the proper balance between freedom and life, especially when it is your freedom and someone else's life? Dickinson here puts herself in the place of those Americans whose emancipation is at stake and still finds herself asking if Liberty is worth the "horrid" bloody bowl of war. We don't know what Colonel Higginson wrote to Dickinson about his battles and his troops, but his letters may have planted this thought.

Alternatively, while the poem may have been more urgently written because of the war being waged, Dickinson may have been meditating war in general. It is perhaps never truly worth the horrors and carnage, yet it births heroes, "Saviors," who pay the price "Sublimely". 

There is no denying the soldier deification in the poem. The dead soldiers are "so brave" their bodies ennoble the dirt in which they are buried. Dickinson compares the value of their lives to an "Enormous Pearl". Helen Vendler claims this is a reference to Cleopatra who, legend has it, dissolved a pearl in a cup of wine "to show the extent to which she disdained wealth." Were these dead soldiers' lives equally wasted in "Battles' – horrid Bowl"? 
In the final stanza Dickinson compares the soldiers to Jesus: they are "unsustained – Saviors" who exemplify "Divinity". Christianity worships Jesus as one who died so that humanity might be saved from the doom of sin. The Union dead died in service, ultimately, of Emancipation.

18 March 2014

The Trees like Tassels — hit — and swung —

The Trees like Tassels — hit — and swung —
There seemed to rise a Tune
From Miniature Creatures
Accompanying the Sun —

Far Psalteries of Summer —
Enamoring the Ear
They never yet did satisfy —
Remotest — when most fair

The Sun shone whole at intervals —
Then Half — then utter hid —
As if Himself were optional
And had Estates of Cloud

Sufficient to enfold Him
Eternally from view —
Except it were a whim of His
To let the Orchards grow —

A Bird sat careless on the fence —
One gossipped in the Lane
On silver matters charmed a Snake
Just winding round a Stone —

Bright Flowers slit a Calyx
And soared upon a Stem
Like Hindered Flags — Sweet hoisted —
With Spices — in the Hem —

'Twas more — I cannot mention —
How mean — to those that see —
Vandyke's Delineation
Of Nature's — Summer Day!
                                                                                 F523 (1863)  J606

Ah, the music of the summer psaltery: Wind playing through leaves and branches, insects humming in the air, and birds gossiping. Add to that the panoply of clouds and flowers – plus the scent of flowers – and the carrying-ons of the little creatures on the ground, and you have a pretty perfect summer day. In this completely charming poem Dickinson makes her preference pretty clear for the glories of such a day over even the finest art.

Woman playing a psalterion
She begins in the trees. The morning winds have come up, buffeting the branches until the trees bend and swing like the tassels one pulls to open a curtain or call the servants. As the sun rises the air quiets and "Miniature Creatures" such as bees and swarms of gnats come out, filling the air with the rapid beating of their tiny wings. The poet is enamored by this music, but notes that it can never "satisfy". It is a tease, most beautiful when out of reach, always leaving one wanting more.   
Portrait by van Dyk. 

Clouds sometimes cover the sun. Dickinson treats the sun if it were a monarch. He shines "whole" at times, while sometimes he is "Half" or "utter hid" as if he need not show himself at all. He has "Estates of Cloud" to shield him from the gaze of mere mortals. But just as the most reclusive king will venture out for some pet fancy or other, so the sun has a "whim" to "let the Orchards grow". Oh generous sun!
Dickinson then turns her attention to earth. A couple of birds are lazing about, and a snake whispers his "silver" conversation as it slithers around a stone to find a spot of warmth. The flowers also respond to the sun. Dickinson has them slitting open their calyxes – a wonderful image – as if so full of energy that they must burst out by force. Like flags eagerly raised by embattled troops, the flowers are "hoisted" up to soar on their stems, their petal hems full of spicy fragrance. 
A glorious summer day has even more riches, but the poet admits she "cannot mention" everything. She concludes the poem by saying that even a masterpiece by Sir Anthony van Dyk (1599-1641) would seem "mean" or shabby by comparison. Dickinson isn't quite playing fair here. Van Dyk was a portrait painter, so unless you really like baroque portraits of nobility, you would have to agree with her. 

Another lovely summer poem is Dickinson's "A something in a summer's Day" (F104).

13 March 2014

I tie my Hat — I crease my Shawl —

I tie my Hat — I crease my Shawl —
Life's little duties do — precisely —
As the very least
Were infinite — to me —

I put new Blossoms in the Glass —
And throw the old — away —
I push a petal from my Gown
That anchored there — I weigh
The time 'twill be till six o'clock
So much I have to do —
And yet — existence — some way back —
Stopped — struck — my ticking — through —

We cannot put Ourself away
As a completed Man
Or Woman — When the errand's done
We came to Flesh — upon —
There may be — Miles on Miles of Nought —
Of Action — sicker far —
To simulate — is stinging work —
To cover what we are
From Science — and from Surgery —
Too Telescopic eyes
To bear on us unshaded —
For their — sake — Not for Ours —

Therefore — we do life's labor —
Though life's Reward — be done —
With scrupulous exactness —
To hold our Senses — on —
                           F522 (1863)  J443

Many of Dickinson's poems describe a circumscribed life (Most recently, "A still Volcano – Life –" and "A Pit –  but Heaven over it –") even though Dickinson herself famously said her business was circumference. The two ideas are related, of course. The soul beats at its confining flesh, the poet at the limits of knowledge and language, and every person struggles against defeat, disappointment, and the vagaries of chance. We are circumscribed, yes – but of what nature are the bounds, how established, how surmounted or endured, and how does one determine what and where they are? This is the business of circumference, seeing the whole circle and venturing out along its verge. This is where Dickinson sometimes takes her readers.
        In this poem, Dickinson examines how people circumscribe themselves, choosing to perform the minutia of daily life "With scrupulous exactness" long after they have lost a sense of purpose or meaning in life. Doing so protects sanity by holding the "Senses" on. Without tactile and specific tasks – the bonnet ribbons or the silk of the scarf between our fingers – we might come completely unmoored.  

        It also protects others from glimpsing the abyss in the affected ones' souls. Pretending everything is normal is "For their – sake – Not for Ours." What would the sister, the father, the brother, the dear friends say if they saw that the "ticking" of real, vital life had stopped?

        Dickinson begins the poem with a sketch of a woman preparing herself for the long hours between getting dressed and supper. Attention is lavished on the tying of the hat, the creasing of the shawl. Such small tasks are undertaken as if they had "infinite" meaning. When nothing has meaning anymore, even "the very least" can become sacramental. These careful gestures we see later are part of a deliberate strategy. 
        The woman turns her attention to small household tasks. She throws out yesterday's flowers to make room for new ones.  There is no delight in the blossoms that she must have just picked, no lingering regard for the spent ones. Flowers, the symbol of life and love and rebirth, are as lifeless to the depressed speaker as the creases of a shawl. A delicate petal seems heavy to her: it is "anchored" to her dress as if its negligible weight pulls her down. She has to "push" it away. 
        Time itself is heavy. The speaker "weighs" the time until dinner. She has plenty of tasks to fill the time but nothing to look forward to. The clock will be ticking, yet her own existence, her vital forces, have stopped. Dickinson says "Stopped" but then adds "struck" – a word that implies the striking of the hour by a clock, but also that she has suffered a blow. Whatever has stopped her inner clock did so through one event, not ennui.
       The rest of the poem is a reflection on life as the speaker turns from the particulars of her own life to a broader generalization. Going back to the household task analogy, she notes that when our life's "errand" is done, which I take to mean a signal achievement or some transformative experience, we "cannot put Ourself away" as we would the plant who has flowered and gone to seed.  Instead, between the accomplishment of the great errand we were born for ("came to Flesh – upon") and death, we still have "Miles on Miles" of nothing, of meaningless actions ahead. This is the dreariness of one whose life has peaked too soon and who can finds nothing left of interest.
        Simulating being truly alive "is stinging work" but must be done to cover up the hollow reality. The doctors, the scientists, the dear friends and family with their "Telescopic eyes" who look at us deeply, "unshaded", must not be allowed to see the truth. Paradoxically, Dickinson says shielding them is for their sake rather than for our own. Perhaps it would be too distressing to see a loved one or a patient in uncurable depression. 
       The last stanza, however, brings us back to the speaker. She continues with "life's labor" as seemingly nothing more than an alternative to suicide. The only thing holding body and soul together is the strategy of complete mindfulness to each small task. It is a flattened and depressed expression of what Thich Nhat Hanh discusses in The Miracle of Mindfulness: " I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath.” And yet for Hanh this mindfulness leads to joy. To the speaker of this poem it barely ensures survival. 

Fascinating scholarly difference: Remember this provocative stanza from F508, "A Pit – but Heaven over it –"?   

'Twould start them —
 We — could tremble —
 But since we got a Bomb —
 And held it in our Bosom —
 Nay — Hold it — it is calm —

Well, Johnson puts it in THIS poem as the penultimate stanza. I quite like it there, as it ties together the idea of shielding others and holding on to our senses.

02 March 2014

It always felt to me — a wrong

It always felt to me — a wrong
To that Old Moses — done —
To let him see — the Canaan —
Without the entering —

And tho' in soberer moments —
No Moses there can be
I'm satisfied — the Romance
In point of injury —

Surpasses sharper stated —
Of Stephen — or of Paul —
For these — were only put to death —
While God's adroiter will

On Moses — seemed to fasten
With tantalizing Play
As Boy — should deal with lesser Boy —
To prove ability.

The fault — was doubtless Israel's —
Myself — had banned the Tribes —
And ushered Grand Old Moses
In Pentateuchal Robes

Upon the Broad Possession
'Twas little — He should see —
Old Man on Nebo! Late as this —
My justice bleeds — for Thee!
                             F521 (1863)  J597

Dickinson was skeptical about Christianity, particularly in its portrayal of God as all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good. Her path to this skepticism, which set her apart from family, friends and townspeople, seems to have come at least in part from reading the family Bible. She says as much in the opening lines of this poem: she always felt God behaved badly towards Moses, showing him the Promised Land but forbidding him to enter it. 
It was Moses, after all, who had led the suffering Israelites out of Egypt forty years before. Most people remember the stories of the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea and the manna from heaven. It was Moses who brought the tablets with the Ten Commandments down from God. He is considered chief among the Patriarchs. Yet God denied him Canaan, the promised destination, because of what seems a forgivable and uncharacteristic failure: when God told him that if he spoke to a rock it would gush forth enough water to save the thirsty Israelites, Moses instead struck the rock with his rod and, probably more to the point, didn't credit God – something he had done throughout his long and heroic leadership.   
Moses looking at the Promised Land he was
forbidden to enter

Dickinson calls God's actions a tease, a "tantalizing Play", something akin to a cruel boy egging on a boy he knows to be his inferior simply to flaunt his own superiority. She makes a similar criticism in  F304  where the "June Bee" invites a schoolboy to a "Race" that he has no chance to win. The bee "evades" and "teases" and then goes back to the "Royal clouds" where the whole sky mocks the boy.

Although she admits that "in soberer moments" she finds the Biblical accounts of Moses to be a fantasy, a "Romance", Dickinson compares Moses's fate to that of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, stoned to death for his faith, and the apostle Paul who was reportedly beheaded at the command of Nero. Stephen and Paul were simply put to death by peers or rulers for their beliefs, while Moses had to gaze upon the land he had led his people towards for forty years, knowing that the god under whom he served was forbidding him to ever set foot in it. A sad, if not bitter, moment indeed, with God rubbing a bit of salt into the wound. It is God's "adroiter will", and Dickinson is here making a word play (per the invaluable Emily Dickinson Lexicon) on the French roots of "adroit": "to right, or "rightly". What she means is "cunning" and "clever" – nothing about this is "right" to her.
Some might say that God was showing Moses some mercy when he allowed Moses to see Canaan, providing some sense of closure. But not Dickinson. First, she blames the Israelites who seem to have provoked Moses into his unscripted whacking of the rock by their quarreling and complaining. She would have banned them from the promised land instead of "Grand Old Moses". 
In the last two lines of the poem, Dickinson addresses Moses directly: Old grandfather, there on Mt. Nebo looking out over what you should have possessed – "My justice bleeds – for Thee!" It is a ringing end to a well-reasoned poem.

Here are some of the pertinent Biblical passages:
The Fault of Moses
Numbers 20:2-12
2 Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. 3 They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the LORD! 4 Why did you bring the LORD’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? 5 Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”
6 Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them. 7 The LORD said to Moses, 8 “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”
9 So Moses took the staff from the LORD’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.
12 But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

The Death of Moses
Deuteronomy 34:1-6
Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land—from Gilead to Dan, 2 all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, 3 the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. 4 Then theLord said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.”
5 And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. 6 He buried him[a] in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is.