Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Light exists in Spring / Emily Dickinson

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope we know
It almost speaks to me.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Emily Dickinson biography

1 comment:

  1. Once again, it's hard to tell which version of this poem Dickinson would have approved. The problem is not lack of scholarship, of which there has been plenty: the problem is that all the scholarship has been after-the-fact.

    In this case I found two versions on the Web. The first, identified as #85, is from her 1924 Complete Poems -- it has the above wording and linebreaks, but different punctuation (commas and semi-colons instead of dashes).
    The second, identified as #812, is from It is identical with the above except for two lines, LL11-12, which say:
    Upon the furthest Slope you know
    It almost speaks to you.
    (which, unlike Dickinson's norm, does not rhyme).

    For this version I kept the rhyme from #85 (because it looks like a later, 'fixed' version of #812), but the punctuation from #812 (as that of #85 looks like it was written by an editor, not the poet).