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03 August 2011

Snowflakes: I counted till they danced so

Snow flakes.

I counted till they danced so
Their slippers leaped the town,
And then I took a pencil
To note the rebels down.
And then they grew so jolly
I did resign the prig,
And ten of my once stately toes
Are marshalled for a jig! 
                                                              - F 45 (1858)

This cute poem sketches the poet enjoying the swirling snow, its white 'slippers' dancing over the New England town. She runs to dash off a poem to say something about the little party animals, but can't resist the fun for long. Her poet self is portrayed as a prig, even her toes 'stately'. It's a winter caper, headlined by the Jolly Snowflakes. It's all ironic, of course: She has clearly taken her pencil and noted 'the rebels down.' Still, I like the image of Miss Emily doing a jig.
     This is only one out three of Dickinson's 1780+ poems that she titled. Enjoy!


  1. I also like how she tells herself to enjoy the moment with the line: I did resign the prig,
    We should all do that from time to time!

    1. Amen to that! I just love the rhyming of 'prig' with 'jig'.

  2. In these eight short lines ED resurrected a 70-year-old memory of winter’s first snowfall. I was 11, sitting at my desk beside my 4th grade classroom window. The morning’s forecast was snow, lots of it. After the long hot Arkansas summer and a gorgeous fall, I watched the day grow grey and cold. Mid-morning it began, silent soft flakes floating down, slow at first then piling more and more until the playground vanished under white fur.

    My simple mind schemed some way to escape until excitement broke the walls of better judgement. I found myself telling Mrs Collar that I wasn’t feeling well. She knew my game and sent me to our school nurse who called my mother, speaking softly just out of hearing range. We owned no car, so Mom said send him home the same way he got to school, walking.

    I’ll never forget how I felt opening that outer door to begin the mile trudge home. Those 30 minutes were the closest to heaven any 11 year old should get. Of course, my punishment was to spend the rest of the day in bed, but somehow that price was nowhere near the reward of that 30-minute walk.

    So, thank you Emily. You may have died in spring of 1886, but you will never Die as long as geezers read your ‘Snowflakes’ and remember.