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Saturday, October 07, 2006

She's quite a good poet ... for an American - Giles

I found an interesting article in Spirituality Today about Emily Dickinson - 'Experiment in Green': Emily Dickinson's Search for Faith. As the openning blurb says ... As shown in her poems, Dickinson's spiritual journey led her from naive nature-mysticism through disappointment, to a sacramental approach to God and further discouragement, culminating in a mature attitude of faithful unknowing. Below are some of Dickinson's poems from the article ...

A something in a summer's Day

A something in a summer's Day
As slow her flambeaux burn away
Which solemnizes me.

A something in a summer's noon—
A depth—an Azure—a perfume—
Transcending ecstasy.

And still within a summer's night
A something so transporting bright
I clap my hands to see—

Then veil my too inspecting face
Lets such a subtle—shimmering grace
Flutter too far for me—

The wizard fingers never rest—
The purple brook within the breast
Still chafes it narrow bed—

Still rears the East her amber Flag—
Guides still the sun along the Crag
His Caravan of Red—

So looking on—the night—the morn
Conclude the wonder gay—
And I meet, coming thro' the dews
Another summer's Day!

The Soul's Superior instants

The Soul's Superior instants
Occur to Her -- alone --
When friend -- and Earth's occasion
Have infinite withdrawn --

Or She -- Herself -- ascended
To too remote a Height
For lower Recognition
Than Her Omnipotent --

This Mortal Abolition
Is seldom -- but as fair
As Apparition -- subject
To Autocratic Air --

Eternity's disclosure
To favorites -- a few --
Of the Colossal substance
Of Immortality

Our lives are Swiss --

Our lives are Swiss --
So still -- so Cool --
Till some odd afternoon
The Alps neglect their Curtains
And we look farther on!

Italy stands the other side!
While like a guard between --
The solemn Alps --
The siren Alps
Forever intervene!

These are the days when Birds come back—

These are the days when Birds come back—
A very few—a Bird or two—
To take a backward look.

These are the days when skies resume
The old—old sophistries of June—
A blue and gold mistake.

Oh fraud that cannot cheat the Bee—
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief.

Till ranks of seeds their witness bear—
And softly thro' the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf.

Oh Sacrament of summer days,
Oh Last Communion in the Haze—
Permit a child to join.

Thy sacred emblems to partake—
They consecrated bread to take
And thine immortal wine!


And not related to the article, but something I learned from watching a Babylon 5 episode, and mentioned in Wikipedia too :-) ...

Because of her frequent use of common metre, many of Dickinson's poems can easily be set to tunes ... one can also sing many of her poems to the tunes of either "The Yellow Rose of Texas" or the "Gilligan's Island" theme song. While this novelty is entertaining in itself, it also demonstrates the connection between poetry and song embodied for centuries in the ballad.


Blogger cowboyangel said...


I enjoy how you've been bringing poetry into your various posts. That's great.

And Emily rocks!

4:12 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

In college I interpreted one of Emily's poems, and the teacher said I was wrong. I said, "How do you know? It's not as though Emily ever explained anything." (I still say I was right.) :-)

6:58 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Guillame, thanks :-)

Hi Susan, I'd back you on poetry interpretation any day!

7:43 PM  

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