Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Emily Dickinson: LXIII

I love the way Dickinson's rich and elusive sound-play drives me to experience this poem in the same way as she experiences the nature imagery. Her rhyme scheme is simultaneously so intense and so free, I can't help but pause to reflect on those phrases that came before which might (or might not) have rhymed.

The exquisite fusion of form and content makes this poem yet one more of those joys beyond hope.


by Emily Dickinson

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

A something in a summer's noon,--
An azure depth, a wordless tune,
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,
Lest such a subtle, shimmering grace
Flutter too far for me.

The wizard-fingers never rest,
The purple brook within the breast
Still chafes its narrow bed;

Still rears the East her amber flag,
Guides stil the sun along the crag
His caravan of red,

Like flowers that heard the tale of dews,
But never deemed the dripping prize
Awaited their low brows;

Or bees, that thought the summer's name
Some rumor of delirium
No summer could for them;

Or Arctic creature, dimly stirred
By tropic hint,--some traveled bird
Imported to the wood;

Or wind's bright signal to the ear,
Making that homely and severe,
Contented, known, before

The heaven unexpected came,
To lives that thought their worshipping
A too presumptuous psalm.

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