Tag Archives: fasciles

“The Mountains — grow unnoticed —”

The Mountains—grow unnoticed—
Their Purple figures rise
Without attempt—Exhaustion—
Assistance—or Applause—

In Their Eternal Faces
The Sun—with just delight
Looks long—and last—and golden—
For fellowship—at night—

“The Mountains—grow unnoticed —” was discovered and numbered in the 34th fascicle1 in 1926 and was first published in The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson in 1929 by Little Brown. Dickinson lived across from the Pelham Hills in Amherst, Massachusetts, most likely the great “Purple figures” who rise and grow without recognition.

The mountains do not require the attention of acknowledgment of others and it is something that could be said in relation to Dickinson’s feelings on recognition. The use of the word “Purple” suggests a similar growth of man. Purple during the times of Monarchy could only be worn by those of royal lineage which can be perceived as though the growth of mountains exceeds the significance of that of man. Also, unlike the average person, the mountains do not require the recognition which is usually in correlation with personal achievement. Individuals tend to require recognition for their deeds, while the mountains, “Their Purple figures rise / Without attempt — Exhaustion — / Assistance — or Applause —.” The same color can also pertain to different aspects of life as well, and purple is an important color to those who are concerned with spirituality because it is the color of infinite consciousness of yourself and everything around you. The major relation to this is Dickinson’s creation of the mountains “Eternal Faces.” The term eternal, meaning to last or exist forever; without an end or beginning, is a direct relation to the color purple and the concept of the infinite consciousness.

Dickinson continues to bring attention to the mountains, which can be viewed as deceitful because the mountains do not require attention. She brings in the power of the sun and its longing relationship to the mountains whose “eternal faces” in turn become illuminated. “The Sun — with just delight / Looks long — and last — and golden — / For fellowship — at night —.” The relationship between the sun and the mountains is opposite of the conventional. Instead of bringing life to the mountains, they themselves create and sustain the friendship which the sun seeks fellowship within.

—Shane Merritt

Note Dorothy Huff Oberhaus explains the use of the term “fascicles” when referring to Dickinson’s poems. “Although the poems of Emily Dickinson remained virtually unpublished during her lifetime, she did engage in a private kind of self-publication from about 1858 to 1864. During those years, she made copies of more than eight hundred of her poems, gathered them into forty groups, and bound each of these gatherings together with string to form booklets. While she sometimes sent a friend a copy of one of the poems from the booklets, there is no evidence that she showed them in their bound form to anyone.” See Emily Dickinson’s Fascicles: Method and Meaning (Pittsburgh: The Pennsylvania State UP, 1995). A critical discussion of the organization of the poems in the fascicles appears in Sharon Cameron, Choosing Not Choosing: Dickinson’s Fascicles (Chicago: Chicago UP, 1993).

Bibliography and Further Reading Neeru Tandon. Thematic Patterns of Emily Dickinson’s Poetry (New Delhi, Atlantic & Distributors, 2008. Print); “The Publication Question” (Emily Dickinson Museum, 2013. Web).

Advertisements

“Rests at Night”

Rests at Night
The Sun from shining,
Nature–and some Men–
Rest at Noon–some Men–
While Nature
And the Sun–go on–

Emily Dickinson originally wrote Poem #714 around 1863. It is part of Fascicle 23, which includes 20 poems written in ink. It is also included in the Houghton Library, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dickinson refers to nature and the sun as always continuing in a circular motion. The two never rest at the same time, but only appear to do so.  While the men of one region rest for the night and the nature and sun convince the men that the sun and nature are asleep, but in reality they are awake in another region. When the men of the first region awake, it appears that the sun and nature have slept alongside the men and are awaking together. This continuous circle allows the unconscious man to have his world at rest, while the awaken man lives on with the sun and nature until the next rotation of the sun and moon. As the world spins continuously, some men begin their day and end their night. The one thing that will always stay true is the wondrous rotation of the Earth from day to night and Emily Dickinson seems to highlight the beauty of that routinely manner.

Ashok Karra suggests that this poem is a hidden love romance story and calling the “rests” men who are in her words “lazy.” On the other hand, this is potentially be a romance poem with the “rests” merely the distances from man and woman. The poem suggests that “Some men” may live on the opposite side of the world in another hemisphere and therefore their sun and nature rest at night while in the other hemisphere their men, sun, and nature are resting at the other groups’ noon time.

–Emma Kash

Bibliography and Further Reading Ashok Karra. “Rethink.” Rethink. N.p., (23 Nov. 2010. Web.) 18 Nov. 2013; “Manuscript View for Houghton Library – (168a,b) “My Faith Is Larger than the Hills,” J766, Fr489; Rests at Night, J714, Fr490.” Emily Dickinson Archive. Manuscript View for Houghton Library – (168a,b) My Faith Is Larger than the Hills, J766, Fr489; Rests at Night, J714, Fr490. N.p.,( n.d. Web.) 18 Nov. 2013.

“Ourselves were wed one summer — dear —”

Ourselves were wed one summer — dear —
Your Vision — was in June —
And when Your little Lifetime failed,
I wearied — too — of mine —

And overtaken in the Dark —
Where You had put me down —
By Some one carrying a Light —
I — too — received the Sign.

‘Tis true — Our Futures different lay —
Your Cottage — faced the sun —
While Oceans — and the North must be —
On every side of mine

‘Tis true, Your Garden led the Bloom,
For mine — in Frosts — was sown —
And yet, one Summer, we were Queens —
But You — were crowned in June —

Emily Dickinson’s “Ourselves were wed one summer — dear —” (631)  was included in packet 84 and is believed to have been written around 1863. Readers have suggested that the poem registers Dickinson’s loss of her childhood friend Susan Huntington Gilbert Dickinson, to the rigidness of her heterosexual marriage to Emily’s brother, William Austin Dickinson.

Sue’s “Vision” in June represents her faith and her marriage to Austin. Dickinson expresses her loss of Sue to both religion and marriage as a kind of death. While Dickinson avoids her own experience of death by yielding herself not to man or God, but to the “light” and her poetic muse:

And overtaken in the Dark —
Where You had put me down —
By Some one carrying a Light —
I — too — received the Sign.

After receiving the poetic “Sign,” Dickinson goes on to describe how both her and Sue’s lives will be forever different:

‘Tis true — Our Futures different lay —
Your Cottage — faced the sun —
While Oceans — and the North must be —
On every side of mine

‘Tis true, Your Garden led the Bloom,
For mine — in Frosts — was sown —
And yet, one Summer, we were Queens —
But You — were crowned in June —

Sue’s life will include daily social rounds of a cottage, while Dickinson will face the openness of the oceans and the north. Sue is associated with the creativity and bloom of a garden, but it is a garden circumscribed by the round of male order signified by sun, or even son. Dickenson sows her own garden, her own poems, with the “Frost” suggesting her cold separation from Sue. Dickinson gives birth to poetry and Sue gives birth to children. Nevertheless, both women have lost the primal bonds that they posed when the two were “Queens,” but Sue greatly wreaks the loss of primal bonds when she subdued to the “crown,” the limits, the blows, and the thorns. “Crown” offers an imagery of Christ, a sort of restriction, i.e. marriage.

This poem has a representation of these comparing and contrasting roles. Sue is a sun-filled, domestic fate, while Dickinson is surrounded by the vast “Ocean.” For Vivian Pollak, the imagery evoking the speaker’s fate, “symbolized a lesser triumph over sterility, because she never effectively renounced her love for Sue, transferred her affection to anyone else, or recovered from Sue’s betrayal of her” (142). While Sue’s lifelong companionship for the poet is questionable, at least in this poem, she continues to dominate Dickinson’s consciousness. There is a lingering anguish towards the loss of Sue even at the end of the poem, once more, the summer when they were “Queens” and the June when Sue was “crowned” both women were dethroned.

—Melanie Murphy

Bibliography and Further Readings Betsy Erkkila. The wicked sisters: women poets, literary history, and discord (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Print); Betsy Erkkila. The complete poems of Emily Dickinson (Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown, 1960. Print); Sharon Leiter. Critical companion to Emily Dickinson: a literary reference to her life and work (New York, NY: Facts on File, 2007. Print).