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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Emily Dickinson: A Narrow Fellow in the Grass

... a poem that has more layers than a toddler going out into a snowstorm. Every element of the poem calls for our attention. The dashes, the question mark, the capitalization, and the strange wording are all important, because they mix together to make our encounter with this poem both intriguing, and as startling as almost stepping on a snake.

A narrow fellow in the grass
Occasionally rides;
You may have met him—did you not
His notice sudden is,
The grass divides as with a comb,
A spotted shaft is seen,
And then it closes at your feet,
And opens further on.

He likes a boggy acre, 
A floor too cool for corn,
But when a boy and barefoot,
I more than once at noon
Have passed, I thought, a whip lash,
Unbraiding in the sun,
When stooping to secure it,
It wrinkled and was gone.

Several of nature’s people
I know, and they know me;
I feel for them a transport
Of cordiality.
But never met this fellow,
Attended or alone,
Without a tighter breathing,
And zero at the bone.

(Emily Dickinson)



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