47 By such and such an offering

 

By such and such an offering
To Mr So and So –
The web of life is woven –
So martyrs albums show!

[Emily Dickinson]

This is the last poem from 1858! Bound into Fascicle 2.

What makes all the difference in this web of life is what the offering is and to which Mr So and So. If you needed a reason to take a long look at your life, here it is. Thanks, Em!

Peace and Namaste –

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46 Before the ice is in the pools

 

Before the ice is in the pools –
Before the skaters go,
Or any cheek at nightfall
Is tarnished by the snow –

Before the fields have finished –
Before the Christmas tree,
Wonder opon wonder –
Will arrive to me!

What we touch the hems of
On a summer’s day –
What is only walking
Just a bridge away –

That which sings so – speaks so –
When there’s no one here –
Will the frock I wept in
Answer me to wear?

[Emily Dickinson]

Written late 1858 and bound into fascicle 2.

Ah, Nature. Summer. Time. What a thrill it is to be alive!

Love and Namaste –

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45 I counted till they danced so – “Snow flakes.”

 

Snow flakes.

I counted till they danced so
Their slippers leaped the town –
And then I took a pencil
To note the rebels down –
And then they grew so jolly
I did resign the prig –
And ten of my once stately toes
Are marshalled for a jig!

[Emily Dickinson]

Written late 1858, in Fascicle 2 – the first of three poems to have a title!

This is so sweet, so joyous – the innocence with which nature elicits joy.

Prig – a self-righteously moralistic person who behaves as if they are superior to others.

Peace, Love, and Namaste –

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44 The guest is gold and crimson

 

The Guest is gold and crimson –
An Opal guest, and gray –
Of ermine is his doublet –
His Capuchin gay –

He reaches town at nightfall –
He stops at every door –
Who looks for him at morning –
I pray him too – explore
The Lark’s pure territory –
Or the Lapwing’s shore!

[Emily Dickinson]

Written in late 1858 and bound into Fascicle 2.

Lapwing – a bird native to the American Northeast.

Love and namaste –

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43 Through lane it lay – thro’ bramble

 

Through lane it lay – thro’ bramble –
Through clearing and thro’ wood –
Banditti often paassed us
Opon the lonely road.

The wolf came peering curious –
The Owl looked puzzled down –
The serpent’s satin figure
Glid stealthily along,

The tempests touched our garments –
The lightning’s poinards gleamed –
Fierce from the Crag above us
The hungry Vulture screamed –

The Satyrs fingers beckoned –
The Valley murmured “Come” –
These were the mates –
This was the road
These Children fluttered home.

[Emily Dickinson]

Written late 1858 and copied into Fascicle 2.

This reminds me of another book I’ve been chewing on – The Pilgrim’s Progress. The Path is not easy, but it is beautiful, Light filled, and ultimately worthwhile; redemptive and sure. Life is filled with trials, but the joy is that much sweeter for them.

Banditti – plural of bandit! I never knew.
Poinards [or poniards] – daggers.
Satyrs – mythological creatures associated with Dionysius, i.e. constantly drunk and roaming the forest in search of a good time.

I read this as an encouragement. Yes, she’s acknowledging the trials that come in life, but it still ends with the children fluttering home. Fluttering. Lightly, sweetly, ease-fully. Let’s flutter.

Peace and Namaste –

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42 There is a word

 

There is a word
Which bears a sword
Can pierce an armed man –
It hurls it’s barbed syllables
And is mute again –
But where it fell
The saved will tell
On patriotic day,
Some epauletted Brother
Gave his breath away.

Wherever runs ts the breathless sun –
Wherever roams the day,
There is it’s noiseless onset –
There is it’s victory!
Behold the keenest marksman!
The most accomplished shot!
Time’s sublimest target
Is a soul “forgot”!

[Emily Dickinson]

Written late 1858, bound into Fascicle 2.

Damn. She winds this up so well and packs that punch at the end. At first you think it could be joyful, maybe it’s not bad – the terms victory and all those exclamation marks had me starting to smile as I read it. But then, then she pulls it all out from under you. To be forgotten. Is this really the worst possible thing? Whether you agree with her or not, thisĀ begs the question: forgotten by whom? Loved ones? Future generations? God? Hmm.

Peace and Love and Namaste –

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41 I often passed the village

 

I often passed the Village
When going home from school –
And wondered what they did there –
And why it was so still –

I did not know the year then,
In which my call would come –
Earlier, by the Dial,
Than the rest have gone.

It’s still than the sundown.
It’s cooler than the dawn –
The Daisies dare to come here –
And birds can flutter down –

So when you are tired –
Or – perplexed – or cold –
Trust the loving promise
Underneath the mould,
Cry “it’s I,” “take Dollie,”
And I will enfold!

[Emily Dickinson]

Written autumn 1858, bound into Fascicle 3 the following year.

Dollie was a nickname for Emily’s dear friend, Susan.

Peace, Love, & Namaste –

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40 I hav’nt told my garden yet

I hav’nt told my garden yet –
Lest that should conquer me.
I hav’nt quite the strength now
To break it to the Bee –

I will not name it in the street
For shops w’d stare at me –
That one so shy -so ignorant
Should have the face to die.

The hillsides must not know it –
Where I have rambled so –
Nor tell the loving forests
The day that I shall go –

Nor lisp it at the table –
Nor heedless by the way
Hint that within the Riddle
One will walk today –

[Emily Dickinson]

We made it to 40! In many more than 40 days, I know, but really I don’t mind if this takes the next ten years of my life. I’ll be reading her poetry forever, and I can only post when it feels right.

This one was written in autumn 1858, in Fascicle 3. Interesting that she seems especially sensitive about death here, not quite at peace with it, not strong enough to let people know it’s coming.

Love, peace, and namaste –

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39 I never lost as much but twice

 

I never lost as much but twice –
And that was in the sod.
Twice have I stood a beggar
Before the door of God!

Angels – twice descending
Reimbursed my store –
Burglar! Banker – Father!
I am poor once more!

[Emily Dickinson]

Oh, the levels, the soul, the depth of feeling! She has expressed the ineffable confluence of emotion that is grief.

Love and namaste –

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38 I never told the buried gold

 

I never told the buried gold
Opon the hill that lies –
I saw the sun, his plunder done –
Crouch low to guard his prize –

He stood as near
As stood you here –
A pace had been between –
Did but a snake bisect the brake
My life had forfeit been.

That was a wondrous booty.
I hope ’twas honest gained –
Those were the fairest ingots
That ever kissed the spade.

Whether to keep the secret –
Whether to reveal –
Whether while I ponder
Kidd may sudden sail –

Could a shrewd advise me
We might e’en divide –
Should a shrewd betray me –
“Atropos” decide –

[Emily Dickinson]

Atropos – Greek: without turn. One of the three Fates – goddesses of destiny. The oldest of the three, Atropos was known to be inflexible. She chooses the mechanism of death and snips the thread of life with her “abhorred shears.”

Written autumn 1858 and bound into Fascicle 3. This one seems light and airy at first, but wow. I read it aloud last night and am writing it out today, and it has grown to be a meditation on childhood and adulthood, on the fracturing that can happen to our joy, on the trauma that can intrude on our lives and steal away our treasure. Damn, girl! I love this. I hope you do, too.

Namaste –

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