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The Grass so little has to do - -- Emily Dickinson

       
(Poem #341) The Grass so little has to do -
 The Grass so little has to do -
 A Sphere of simple Green -
 With only Butterflies to brood
 And Bees to entertain -

 And stir all day to pretty Tunes
 The Breezes fetch along -
 And hold the Sunshine in its lap
 And bow to everything -

 And thread the Dews, all night, like Pearls -
 And make itself so fine
 A Duchess were too common
 For such a noticing -

 And even when it dies - to pass
 In Odors so divine -
 Like Lowly spices, lain to sleep -
 Or Spikenards, perishing -

 And then, in Sovereign Barns to dwell -
 And dream the Days away,
 The Grass so little has to do
 I wish I were a Hay -
-- Emily Dickinson
The most immediately striking thing about Dickinson's poetry is how highly
individual it is. Part of it is, of course, the fact that she never intended
her work to be published, but the main reason is her groundbreaking
innovations in verse form - she experimented freely with the rules of rhyme,
syntax and punctuation, bending the language to her purpose in a manner few
poets have accomplished before or since.

Today's poem is typical Dickinson - the whimsicality of the theme, the
inversion of images (grass is usually spoken of as passive - I particularly
liked 'thread the dews') and the sheer audacity required to end a poem with
a dash. Again, the poem has two other Dickinson hallmarks - the deliberately
childish-sounding verse, disguising the way she makes every word count, and
the teasing use of almost-rhymes that veer towards and away from similarity
of sound, before ending in a perfect rhyme (almost as if to say 'see - I
could do it all along').

m.

Links: For more on Dickinson see the previous poem, poem #92

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