Emily Dickinson poems for ENGL 372

Nature Poems


These are the days when Birds come back --
A very few -- a Bird or two --
To take a backward look.

These are the days when skies resume
The old -- old sophistries of June --
A blue and gold mistake.

Oh fraud that cannot cheat the Bee --
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief.

Till ranks of seeds their witness bear --
And softly thro' the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf.

Oh Sacrament of summer days,
Oh Last Communion in the Haze --
Permit a child to join.

Thy sacred emblems to partake --
They consecrated bread to take
And thine immortal wine!

There's a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons --
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes --

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us --
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are --

None may teach it -- Any --
'Tis the Seal Despair --
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air --

When it comes, the Landscape listens --
Shadows -- hold their breath --
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death --

Nature -- sometimes sears a Sapling --
Sometimes -- scalps a Tree --
Her Green People recollect it
When they do not die --

Fainter Leaves -- to Further Seasons --
Dumbly testify --
We -- who have the Souls --
Die oftener -- Not so vitally --


Some keep the Sabbath going to Church --
I keep it, staying at Home --
With a Bobolink for a Chorister --
And an Orchard, for a Dome --

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice --
I just wear my Wings --
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton -- sings.

God preaches, a noted Clergyman --
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at least --
I'm going, all along.


It bloomed and dropt, a Single Noon --
The Flower -- distinct and Red --
I, passing, thought another Noon
Another in its stead

Will equal glow, and thought no More
But came another Day
To find the Species disappeared --
The Same Locality --

The Sun in place -- no other fraud
On Nature's perfect Sum --
Had I but lingered Yesterday --
Was my retrieveless blame --

Much Flowers of this and further Zones
Have perished in my Hands
For seeking its Resemblance --
But unapproached it stands --

The single Flower of the Earth
That I, in passing by
Unconscious was -- Great Nature's Face
Passed infinite by Me --


There came a Wind like a Bugle --
It quivered through the Grass
And a Green Chill upon the Heat
So ominous did pass
We barred the Windows and the Doors
As from an Emerald Ghost --
The Doom's electric Moccasin
That very instant passed --
On a strange Mob of panting Trees
And Fences fled away
And Rivers where the Houses ran
Those looked that lived -- that Day --
The Bell within the steeple wild
The flying tidings told --
How much can come
And much can go,
And yet abide the World


Apparently with no surprise
To any happy Flower
The Frost beheads it at its play --
In accidental power --
The blonde Assassin passes on --
The Sun proceeds unmoved
To measure off another Day
For an Approving God.

On art


This is my letter to the World
That never wrote to Me --
The simple News that Nature told --
With tender Majesty

Her Message is committed
To Hands I cannot see --
For love of Her -- Sweet -- countrymen --
Judge tenderly -- of Me


This was a Poet -- It is That
Distills amazing sense
From ordinary Meanings --
And Attar so immense

From the familiar species
That perished by the Door --
We wonder it was not Ourselves
Arrested it -- before --

Of Pictures, the Discloser --
The Poet -- it is He --
Entitles Us -- by Contrast --
To ceaseless Poverty --

Of portion -- so unconscious --
The Robbing -- could not harm --
Himself -- to Him -- a Fortune --
Exterior -- to Time --

Publication -- is the Auction
Of the Mind of Man --
Poverty -- be justifying
For so foul a thing

Possibly -- but We -- would rather
From Our Garret go
White -- Unto the White Creator --
Than invest -- Our Snow --

Thought belong to Him who gave it --
Then -- to Him Who bear
Its Corporeal illustration -- Sell
The Royal Air --

In the Parcel -- Be the Merchant
Of the Heavenly Grace --
But reduce no Human Spirit
To Disgrace of Price --

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant --
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind --

The feminist..

My Soul -- accused me -- And I quailed --
As Tongue of Diamond had reviled
All else accused me -- and I smiled --
My Soul -- that Morning -- was My friend --

Her favor -- is the best Disdain
Toward Artifice of Time -- or Men --
But Her Disdain -- 'twere lighter bear
A finger of Enamelled Fire --

Mine -- by the Right of the White Election!
Mine -- by the Royal Seal!
Mine -- by the Sign in the Scarlet prison --
Bars -- cannot conceal!

Mine -- here -- in Vision -- and in Veto!
Mine -- by the Grave's Repeal --
Tilted -- Confirmed --
Delirious Charter!
Mine -- long as Ages steal!

I think I was enchanted
When first a sombre Girl --
I read that Foreign Lady --
The Dark -- felt beautiful --

And whether it was noon at night --
Or only Heaven -- at Noon --
For very Lunacy of Light
I had not power to tell --

The Bees -- became as Butterflies --
The Butterflies -- as Swans --
Approached -- and spurned the narrow Grass --
And just the meanest Tunes

That Nature murmured to herself
To keep herself in Cheer --
I took for Giants -- practising
Titanic Opera --

The Days -- to Mighty Metres stept --
The Homeliest -- adorned
As if unto a Jubilee
'Twere suddenly confirmed --

I could not have defined the change --
Conversion of the Mind
Like Sanctifying in the Soul --
Is witnessed -- not explained --

'Twas a Divine Insanity --
The Danger to be Sane
Should I again experience --
'Tis Antidote to turn --

To Tomes of solid Witchcraft --
Magicians be asleep --
But Magic -- hath an Element
Like Deity -- to keep --


She rose to His Requirement -- dropt
The Playthings of Her Life
To take the honorable Work
Of Woman, and of Wife --

If ought She missed in Her new Day,
Of Amplitude, or Awe --
Or first Prospective -- Or the Gold
In using, wear away,

It lay unmentioned -- as the Sea
Develop Pearl, and Weed,
But only to Himself -- be known
The Fathoms they abide --