Thursday, October 6, 2011

I robbed the Woods

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?
- Emily Dickinson, c. 1858

When my children were small we lived in the country. We would often venture out into the woods to find ‘treasures’ - bits of moss, cool twigs, mushrooms and fungus - to bring home and make things with. When my kids went out with their dad, they would always bring back ‘treasures’ they had collected for me. This poem sent me back to those times. We didn’t have oak and hemlock trees, but I’m sure the pine and spruce that ‘brought out their burs and mosses’ for us didn’t mind that we gathered them up and took them home.
This could be a metaphor - perhaps she is talking about other writers or people she admires, gleaning ideas from them, or looking for acceptance or help in getting her poems published. It’s possible. But I like my memories . . .

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My wheel is in the dark!

You might sometimes read a poem, and think, ‘if I knew more about the author, or what she was trying to say, I would enjoy the poem more.’ And perhaps you would. But one of the enjoyments I find in poetry is letting the words, and the style, flow over my mind, and see what happens. I enjoy the feeling that cannot be put into words. That is poetry.

My wheel is in the dark!
I cannot see a spoke
Yet know its dripping feet
Go round and round.

My foot is on the Tide!
An unfrequented road -
Yet have all roads
A clearing at the end -

Some have resigned the Loom -
Some in the busy tomb
Find quaint employ -

Some with new - stately feet -
Pass royal through the gate -
Flinging the problem back
At you and I!
- Emily Dickinson, 1858

What do you feel? Triumph, confusion? Is it about death, or is it about life?

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Gentian weaves her fringes

Another poem saying good-bye to summer. I enjoy her voice in this poem - a little playful, a little sad. But is it only summer that she is saying good-bye to? Is she addressing the larger letting go? That is the beauty of poetry - it brings out different feelings, thoughts and ideas for different readers. What does this one say to you?

The Gentian weaves her fringes -
The Maple's loom is red -
My departing blossoms
Obviate parade.

A brief, but patient illness -
An hour to prepare,
And one below this morning
Is where the angels are -
It was a short procession,
The Bobolink was there -
An aged Bee addressed us -
And then we knelt in prayer -
We trust that she was willing -
We ask that we may be.
Summer - Sister - Seraph!
Let us go with thee!

In the name of the Bee -
And of the Butterfly -
And of the Breeze - Amen!
- Emily Dickinson c.1858

The morns are meeker than they were

One of Emily Dickinson's many gifts was her ability to evoke the seasons in her poetry. She can make you feel spring in the dead of winter, and decorate the world in fall colors, as she does here.

The morns are meeker than they were -
The nuts are getting brown -
The berry's cheek is plumper -
The Rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf -
The field a scarlet gown -
Lest I should be old fashioned
I'll put a trinket on.
c. 1858

It's a simple poem, but doesn't it just capture the feeling at this time of year? Her nature poems are some of my favorites. I think I'll go dress in fall . . .