Day and I—in competition ran—
I finished Two—and several Stars—
While He—was making One—
His own was ampler—but as I
Was saying to a friend—
Mine—is the more convenient
To Carry in the Hand—
F557 (1863) J308
This poem has Robert Frost's folksy, anecdotal tone and understated humor. Frost is usually considered to be in Dickinson's lineage (versus Whitman, if you are one to divide American poetry into two bloodlines), but this poem seems a reverse channeling of Frost into Dickinson.
|Chichester Canal, JMW Turner, 1828|
Dickinson dismisses this insight quite casually, telling her recipient/reader that this wasn't a new or profound insight (as were many of her other poems to Sue), but just a fun little observation she made "to a friend". She drolly sets up the comparison as having had a little "competition" with Day. While he has to labor all day to produce one sunset, she could produce two and throw in a few stars as a bonus.
The Summer Day poem was also sent to Sue, so perhaps Dickinson wanted to lighten the tone a bit – not seem to take herself so seriously.
It's all quite charming.
*note: yes, I got this and the next poem out of order. They should have preceded "Through the Dark Sod". A bit of carelessness on my part.