Sunday, September 9, 2012

Emily Dickinson: The End of Summer


There comes a warning like a spy
A shorter breath of Day
A stealing that is not a stealth
And Summers are away --

But a spy is not supposed to be noticed!  The change from Summer to Autumn, at first I guess, isn't that noticeable--just a shortening of the Day and a slight loss of  ?   Perhaps the warning is the shorter breath and the stealing?  The Summer is dying. 


As imperceptibly as Grief
The Summer lapsed away --
Too imperceptible at last
To seem like Perfidy --
A Quietness distilled
As Twilight long begun,
Or Nature spending with herself
Sequestered Afternon --
Th Dusk drew earlier in --
The Morning foreign shone --
A courteous, yet harrowing Grace,
As Guest, that wold be gone --
And thus, witout a Wing
Or service of a Keel
Our Summer made her light escape
Into the Beautiful 

Again, the sense that Summer doesn't just abruptly leave, but quietly steals away.
"Our Summer made her light escape"   Just small changes maybe, but into the Beautiful?
This is ambiguous.


We wear our sober Dresses when we die,
But Summer, frilled as for a Holiday
Adjourns her sigh --

The contrast between us and Summer during our last days.  Perhaps this explains the last line of the previous poem "Into the Beautiful."

--  Emily Dickinson --
from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Thomas H. Johnson, Editor

And as always, I can't help but think of similar haiku, suggesting that poets (and therefore humans) from around the globe aren't that different.

                  A single cricket
Chirps, chirps, chirps, and is still .  .  . my
           Candle sinks and dies
                                 -- Anon --

Nothing remarkable here--just a cricket going silent and a candle fading away

          So enviable .  .  .
Maple-leaves most glorious
    Contemplating death
                        -- Shiki --

     Should it have such worth,
What would I not give
    For the scenery of autumn?
                   -- Soin --

The last two haiku, seem related to the second and third poems by Dickinson..

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