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09 July 2011

In the name of the Bee –

In the name of the Bee –
And of the Butterfly –
And of the Breeze – Amen!
                                                                       - F 23 (1858)


Most people who have attended Christian services are familiar with this Trinitarian formula first recorded as uttered by Jesus (Matthew 28:16): "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit". From this springs the notion of the Holy Trinity--a triple godhead but with three distinct manifestations. The formulation is not only used in baptism but in prayers, liturgies, and perhaps most familiarly uttered when making the sign of the cross.
Holy Pollination
from Fiskars.com
     Dickinson is utterly pagan here, establishing her church of nature not just with the 'aged Bee' who addressed the mourners in F 22, but re-imagining the Trinity in what was around her every day. It's a playful bit but clearly thought out: the Bee would represent the Father--the one who pollinates and gives life and knows every flower. The Butterfly, like the Son, is transfigured from the caterpillar and cocoon to rise into the air a beautiful and transcendent thing. And the Breeze, like the Holy Spirit, is ethereal, invisibly moving all that it touches.
     The alliteration and slant rhyme of Bee and Breeze unify the poem and the four anapests--two in the first line and one each in the subsequent ones move it along briskly. The spondee of the 'Amen!' at the end punctuates the poem with conviction. All in all, a delight!

5 comments:

  1. On the morning before I read
    In the name of the Bee
    as I drove a few miles from home,
    I noticed a small chameleon
    grasping my windshield, holding on
    for his dear life. Unaware and
    unsure of his origin - a tree
    in my front yard orhad I picked
    him up along the way - I could see
    his jaws rippling in the gentle wind
    and felt his fear of loss of home
    and family as he kept his grip
    until I stopped and watched him
    quicly jump, becominig ubified
    with the Breeze that called his name. l

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sorry about the typos in "quickly" and "unified" - although I like the word "ubified."

    ReplyDelete
  3. On the morning before I read
    In the name of the Bee
    as I drove a few miles from home,
    I noticed a small chameleon
    grasping my windshield, holding on
    for his dear life. Unaware and
    unsure of his origin - a tree
    in my front yard orhad I picked
    him up along the way - I could see
    his jaws rippling in the gentle wind
    and felt his fear of loss of home
    and family as he kept his grip
    until I stopped and watched him
    quicly jump, becominig ubified
    with the Breeze that called his name. l

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love it! Sweet chameleon. And I do very much admire 'ubified' -- it has a certain pomp and dignity -- and implies more of a transcendence than 'unified'.

      Delete
  4. Thank you for your response. I did not see the possibility for alliteration with "ubified." It was a mistake; but as Miles Davis once said,"There are no mistakes."
    I did change the last lines to "
    "quickly jump and at once become
    one with the Breeze speaking in an
    unknown tongue, calling his name."

    ReplyDelete