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21 October 2011

So from the mould

So from the mould
Scarlet and Gold
Many a Bulb will rise—
Hidden away, cunningly,
From sagacious eyes.

So from Cocoon
Many a Worm
Leap so Highland gay,
Peasants like me,
Peasants like Thee
Gaze perplexedly!
                                       - F110 (1859)  66

Tulips and beautiful lilies come up from dull looking leaf mold to brighten our spring. Looks like magic! Even “sagacious eyes” can be surprised to see such a sight. Likewise, the “Worm” that nestles into its cocoon flies into the air in bright tartan colors amazing the “Peasants” who watch. Magic again!
Butterfly in "bright tartan colors"
There is an unspoken corollary that follows: Our flawed dead bodies will be buried but then rise again in a new and wonderful perfection in an eternal paradise. Dickinson, as usual, takes this lesson of transcendence right from her garden.
            She keeps the tone light here by beginning each stanza with two rhymed dimeter couplets that seem almost amusing. The image of a Worm leaping into a  highland jog from out of the cocoon is particularly amusing. We then see the peasants gaping at it in confusion. The last three lines rhyme, adding further to the lightheartedness.


  1. Anytime ED says “peasants like me” you know there’s a wink-wink going on, but she makes a serious point. Just as amazing plants and animals can begin life a brown bulb in moldy soil or a camouflaged cocoon, unnoticed by “sagacious eyes”, amazing human adults can begin life as unpromising juveniles that no one would guess might someday be a star (or even a famous poet?).

  2. A variation on 7/14/22’s theme: Just as amazing plants and animals may begin life a brown bulb in moldy soil or a camouflaged cocoon, unnoticed by sagacious eyes, a gifted poet transforms ordinary experience into stunning poetry, through a process neither poet nor reader comprehends.