Guest poem submitted by Neha Kumar:
(Poem #529) If you were coming in the fall
If you were coming in the fall, I'd brush the summer by With half a smile and half a spurn, As housewives do a fly. If I could see you in a year, I'd wind the months in balls, And put them each in separate drawers, Until their time befalls. If only centuries delayed, I'd count them on my hand, Subtracting till my fingers dropped Into Van Diemen's land. If certain, when this life was out, That yours and mine should be, I'd toss it yonder like a rind, And taste eternity. But now, all ignorant of the length Of time's uncertain wing, It goads me, like the goblin bee, That will not state its sting.
While going over the Dickinson poems in the Minstrels archive I found this one missing... it's one of my favorites from all of her works, I guess mostly for its simple expression of undying, though unrequited, love. Compared to most of her works, this poem is quite simply written, easy to understand and easy to appreciate. I think it especially beautiful for how effortlessly and effectively it captures the sands of time: ".. wind the months in balls", "If only centuries delayed, I'd count them on my hand". This tone of hope of the poem undergoes a change to one of despair in the key (last) stanza, where the agony that remained successfully hidden in the rest of the poem is finally expressed. The style spelt out Dickinson to me, but I couldn't think of anything to say on that. I thought it would be nice to see this on the mailing list. Dickinson doesn't seem to be too popular there and I think that's a shame, for of the roughly 1800 poems that she did write, there are a few that I feel are worth a read still, to say the very least... I thought the above was one. And I remember when we did Dickinson's works in High School, this one was introduced to us as one of her best few and it was fun explicating it! Neha. PS. Van Diemen's Land - now Tasmania.