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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Emily Up and Down and Back and Forth

The fall is coming back, and I've fallen back to Emily Dickinson. This is my seventh Emily post. In them, in lieu of much comment, I generally link words or phrases of her poem to Wikipedia entries (or other things, such as The Devil's Dictionary today) they bring to my mind. The other posts are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Today I've chosen poems in which emotion, faith, and whimsy seem to rise, fall, and waver.


A sepal, petal, and a thorn * [also]
Upon a common summer's morn --
A flask of Dew -- A Bee or two --
A Breeze -- a caper in the trees --
And I'm a Rose!

*Technically roses have prickles, not thorns. I only mention this because a prickle is also called an emergence, and it could be argued that poetry exhibits emergent properties.


It's all I have to bring today --
This, and my heart beside --
This, and my heart, and all the fields --
And all the meadows wide --
Be sure you count -- should I forget
Some one the sum could tell --
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.


I robbed the Woods --
The trusting Woods.
The unsuspecting Trees
Brought out their Burs and mosses
My fantasy to please.
I scanned their trinkets curious -- I grasped -- I bore away --
What will the solemn Hemlock --
What will the Oak tree say?


A throe upon the features --
A hurry in the breath --
An ecstasy of parting
Denominated "Death" --

An anguish at the mention
Which when to patience grown,
I've known permission given
To rejoin its own.


To hang our head -- ostensibly --
And subsequent, to find
That such was not the posture
Of our immortal mind --

Affords the sly presumption
That in so dense a fuzz --
You -- too -- take Cobweb attitudes
Upon a plane of Gauze!


Surgeons must be very careful
When they take the knife!
Underneath their fine incisions
Stirs the Culprit -- Life!


My friend attacks my friend!
Oh Battle picturesque!
Then I turn Soldier too,
And he turns Satirist!*
How martial is this place!
Had I a mighty gun
I think I'd shoot the human race
And then to glory run!

*See also satire.


For each ecstatic instant
We must an anguish pay
In keen and quivering ration
To the ecstasy.

For each beloved hour
Sharp* pittances of years --
Bitter contested farthings --
And Coffers heaped with Tears!

*Particularly definitions 8, 9, 10 of sharp as an adj.


Perhaps you'd like to buy a flower,
But I could never sell --
If you would like to borrow,
Until the Daffodil

Unties her yellow Bonnet
Beneath the village door,
Until the Bees, from Clover rows
Their Hock, and Sherry, draw,

Why, I will lend until just then,
But not an hour more!


Flowers -- Well -- if anybody
Can the ecstasy define --
Half a transport -- half a trouble --
With which flowers humble men:
Anybody find the fountain
From which floods so contra flow --
I will give him all the Daisies*
Which upon the hillside blow.

Too much pathos in their faces
For a simple breast like mine --
Butterflies from St. Domingo
Cruising round the purple line --
Have a system of aesthetics --
Far superior to mine.

*The daisy seems to be a symbol of innocence.


I cautious, scanned my little life --
I winnowed what would fade
From what would last till Heads like mine
Should be a-dreaming laid.

I put the latter in a Barn --
The former, blew away.
I went one winter morning
And lo - my priceless Hay

Was not upon the "Scaffold" --
Was not upon the "Beam" --
And from a thriving Farmer --
A Cynic, I became.

Whether a Thief did it --
Whether it was the wind --
Whether Deity's guiltless --
My business is, to find!

So I begin to ransack!
How is it Hearts, with Thee?
Art thou within the little Barn
Love provided Thee?


"Faith" is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see --
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.


Brenda Schmidt said...

118 is fantastic. It hits the spot today.

I really like the way you incorporate hyperlinks. "All" for instance. Or "Cobweb attitudes." The links add an element of surprise that compliments her work.

As you can see, I figured out how to post here now that you switched to beta. Not that it was tough. My first attempt went haywire yesterday, or was it the day before. All my fault, of course.

MackJohnny said...

118 is working well for me these days, too. Coincidentally, and completely unrelated to Emily, 118 is also the first phone number I remember my family having -- the good old hand-crank phone and old Amy Howatt, the telephone exchange operator, listening in on every phone call.

Brenda Schmidt said...

ha! We didn't have a crank phone on the farm. Not that I'm aware of anyhow. First came the fence phone, but I don't remember that. However, I do remember the party line. Our ring was one long and two short. Neighbours frequently listened in.