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15 February 2012

The Juggler's Hat her Country is –

The Juggler's Hat her Country is –
The Mountain Gorse – the Bee's!
                                                            - F186 (1861)  330

These two lines were sent to Samule Bowles who was quite an international traveler.  It seems to me Dickinson is saying that her country, the USA, is but a hat Bowles juggles as he flits about from one country to another. Mountain gorse is the Bee’s hat. One pictures a bee flitting from one gorse flower to another burying itself in the flower until it seems like a hat. The choice of mountain gorse is appropriate as Bowles enjoyed tramping about the mountains of Europe and Scotland. 

Juggling countries like hats
Bee with gorse flower hat


  1. Near the end of 1861, the year ED composed this poem, a war erupted at Fort Sumpter, SC, spewing destruction on two incompatible political spouses whose rocky marriage had begun in 1776. Until 1857, ED’s country had managed to juggle its bitter incompatibilities with compromises, but the Supreme Court Dred Scott Decision added one ball too many, and the balls, along with its hat, came crashing down.

    ED’s response was to ignore the far-away fight and resent disruptive debates among her clique of friends. Bowles, her Bee, buzzed off to Europe to enjoy trekking in the Mountain Gorse, at least until his friends, and hers, marched south out of Massachusetts, some never to return.

  2. "The US House of Representatives voted on Wednesday (12/15/2022) to remove from the Capitol a bust of Roger Taney, the supreme court justice who in 1857 wrote the Dred Scott decision, justifying slavery and denying that Black people had rights any “white man was bound to respect”.

    "If the new measure is signed into law by Joe Biden, the bust will be removed from outside the old Supreme Court chamber and replaced by a bust of Thurgood Marshall, the first Black justice."