By Chivalries as tiny,
A Blossom, or a Book,
The seeds of smiles are planted –
Which blossom in the dark.
Written in the fall of 1858 and bound into Fascicle 3. I copied this one down and had it hanging it my apartment for a while – it’s a sweet bit of encouragement to be kind. An affirmation that the slightest action does make a difference, even if it doesn’t seem to in the moment. A reminder that people remember how you make them feel over what your wearing or how your hair looks.
As Annie sang in the musical I watched as a kid – “You’re never fully dressed without a smile!”
If I should die –
And you should live –
And time sh’d gurgle on –
And morn sh’d beam –
And noon should burn –
As it has usual done –
If Birds should build as early
And Bees as bustling go –
One might depart at option
From enterprise below!
‘Tis sweet to know that stocks will stand
When we with Daisies lie –
That Commerce will continue –
And Trades as briskly fly –
It makes the parting tranquil
And keeps the soul serene –
That gentlemen so sprightly
Conduct the pleasing scene!
Written autumn 1858, Fascicle 3. I just love her whimsically realistic relationship with Death, showcased sweetly here. Also, her capitalization is worth noting. Throughout her work, you’ll find patterns. Used to show respect, to personify, to emphasize – attribute whatever reasoning you please. Play.
Taken from men – this morning –
Carried by men today –
Met by the Gods with banners –
Who marshalled her away –
One little maid – from playmates –
One little mind from school –
There must be guests in Eden –
All the rooms are full –
Far – as the East from Even –
Dim as the border star –
Courtiers quaint, in Kingdoms
Our departed are.
This was written in autumn 1858 and bound into Fascicle 3.
ED used her lexicon like a Bible, selecting each word with intention and understanding. I like to look up certain words, even if they’re already familiar to me – sometimes the official definitions are richer than the ones I know.
Even – steady; unwavering; consistent; equal; balanced.
Marshall – gather and arrange in a force to perform an action.
Quaint – unusual; old-fashioned; delightful; delicate; incomprehensible. From Latin cognitum, to ascertain.
We’ve entered Fascicle 3! I swear I haven’t skipped around, the poems naturally jump from 1 to 3 this way. We’ll see if 2 comes up later on. Now it’s Fall of 1858, and, of course, she captures the change of season in her language –
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 sh’d be old fashioned
I’ll put a trinket on.
How can one ever hope to keep up with Nature’s everchanging beauty? Simply, one cannot. I’ll tell you a secret – beauty isn’t a contest. It’s not a zero sum game. We can all be abundantly beautiful, and celebrating each other’s beauty intensifies our own. Find beauty in everything and you will find beauty in yourself; we reflect what we see in the world.
Written late summer 1858 – this is the last poem of Fascicle I. And a lovely ode to a flower sends us on our way –
To him who keeps an Orchis’ heart –
The swamps are pink with June.
I wasn’t sure what an orchis was, so I looked it up –
In the orchid family – it looks to me like a mix between an orchid and a snapdragon. Often pink, sometimes purple.
Let this be inspiration to buy yourself some flowers today and keep a flower’s heart with you – it’s almost June, but there’s something about getting a blossom or a bouquet, even more so when it comes from yourself.
Written late summer 1858. This one and the last were combined into one in an un-author-approved publication in 1945 and 1960. But she transcribed them into her Fascicle I separately. This is a sweet one; a bit of commentary follows –
Flees so the phantom meadow
Before the breathless Bee –
So bubble brooks in deserts –
On ears that dying lie –
Burn so the evening spires
To eyes that Closing go –
Hangs so distant Heaven –
To a hand below.
This is all about pining, that innate longing humans have for our true home apart from this world. Here’s a challenge – live like you’re already there. Bring Heaven to Earth, whatever that means to you.
Written late summer 1858, age 27. 23 is my favorite number, and this poem has long been a favorite – the beauty of paralleling the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with the Bee, the Butterfly, and the Breeze – apt, playful, AND respectful. J’adore.
In the name of the Bee –
And of the Butterfly –
And of the Breeze – Amen!
Written late summer 1858, aged 27. Such whimsicality as this comes as we allow ourselves to live fully with Nature –
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 –
And 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!
Written in late summer of 1858, found on the last page of Fascicle I – I think we have about ten left in this one before moving to Autumn. This poem is a celebration of natural beauty –
The Gentian weaves her fringes –
The Maple’s loom is red –
My departing blossoms
The Gentian and Maple don’t question, choose, or hide their colors or shapes – they simply are. As people, as women or men – as humans – we are blossoms; beautiful as is, without makeup or fancy clothes or a thousand instagram followers. Our truest beauty lies in the simplicity, the purity of our existence, and walking in this truth renders all pomp and circumstance superfluous.
Remember – you are beautiful. Simply, purely as you are.
This lovely ditty was written in the summer of 1858. Ah, the moments when the heart is so full, it’s all there is –
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 – sh’d I forget
Some one the sum could tell –
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.
We are so enough. Let’s relish the fullness of life.