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19 July 2012

Where Ships of Purple—gently toss --

Where Ships of Purple—gently toss --
On Seas of Daffodil—
Fantastic Sailors—mingle—
And then—the Wharf is still!
                                                            F296 (1862)  265

No one does sunsets better than Dickinson. I wonder if Amherst sunsets are still so colorful. Where I’ve lived sunsets are primarily red, pink, and gold, but the ones she describes often have purple. This one does, too. Here she sees great ships, large purple clouds, gently tossing in their moorings. The sea beneath them is tinted golden, "Daffodil," from the setting sun. The mingling and fantastic sailors are no doubt smaller clouds that move among the larger ship-like ones, their shapes constantly changing. When the sun sets the sky turns dark and "the Wharf is still!"
            The poem contains just the single image, the sky mirroring a harbor but in gorgeous sunset colors. 

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