Not had a Dickinson in a while...
(Poem #580) Split the Lark
Split the Lark--and you'll find the Music-- Bulb after Bulb, in Silver rolled-- Scantily dealt to the Summer Morning Saved for your Ear when Lutes be old. Loose the Flood--you shall find it patent-- Gush after Gush, reserved for you-- Scarlet Experiment! Sceptic Thomas! Now, do you doubt that your Bird was true?
An exquisite poem, mixing imagery in a way that few other poets would be able to get away with. Countless poets have attempted to capture the essence of music in a number of images, but Dickinson's is surely one of the most beautiful I've seen. Today's poem seems to be highly allusive, and I'm not sure I've not missed a reference or two. One obvious allusion in the first verse, for instance, is to the goose that laid the golden eggs (a reading supported by the use of 'bulb'), but do the next two lines refer to anything? Likewise, the second verse refers to the New Testament story of Doubting Thomas, who refused to believe that Jesus had risen 'Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side'. And the Bird (tying rather neatly in with the first verse) is probably a reference to the Holy Spirit descending upon Christ in the form of a dove, but if anyone has something stronger to suggest do write in. Dickinson: See the comments after 'There's a Certain Slant of Light', poem #92 The above poem presents another of Dickinson's startlingly original comparisons, incidentally (again involving music, though on the other side of the equation). Links: The story of Doubting Thomas is in John 20: http://www.hti.umich.edu/cgi/k/kjv/kjv-idx?type=DIV2&byte=4862513 Here's a discussion of the poem: [broken link] http://lal.cs.byu.edu/mlists/emweb/199808/19980816-1.html The poem has been set to music by Paul Schwartz: [broken link] http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/d/dickinson/lark.html -martin