Not loud enough – for Wind –
A Star – not far enough to seek –
Nor near enough – to find –
A long – long Yellow – on the Lawn –
A Hubbub – as of feet –
Not audible – as Ours – to Us –
But dapperer – More Sweet –
A Hurrying Home of little Men
To Houses unperceived –
All this – and more – if I should tell –
Would never be believed –
Of Robins in the Trundle bed
How many I espy
Whose Nightgowns could not hide the Wings –
Although I heard them try –
But then I promised ne'er to tell –
How could I break My Word?
So go your Way – and I'll go Mine –
No fear you'll miss the Road.
F433 (1862) J416
Dickinson takes a break here from matters of life, death, and the afterlife to find the world full of magic. Something whispers in the trees, an indeterminate star appears – a fairy lantern perhaps? And in the long yellow light of the moon, the fairies hurry home. Maybe they are elves or brownies or something else, though; but for some reason they are all male. I like that their feet are more dapper and sweet than those of our human males. The mystery of the poem is who the “you” is in the last stanza? I suspect Dickinson addresses the stodgy townspeople who don’t believe in fairies or magic or wonders in the night. These folks have a “Road” they travel, and because they aren’t tempted into following fairy lights, are unlikely to miss it. Dickinson is pretty blunt about this world view: you “go your Way – and I’ll go Mine.” She is not going to give up the magic world.
|The Forest of Arden, Albert|
Pinkham Ryder, 1888