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30 October 2012

I know a place where Summer strives

I know a place where Summer strives
With such a practised Frost—
She—each year—leads her Daisies back—
Recording briefly—"Lost"—

But when the South Wind stirs the Pools
And struggles in the lanes—
Her Heart misgives Her, for Her Vow—
And she pours soft Refrains

Into the lap of Adamant—
And spices—and the Dew—
That stiffens quietly to Quartz—
Upon her Amber Shoe—
                                                                                              F363 (1862)  337

This graceful tribute to summer reminds me of “These are the days when Birds come back” where Indian summer, “A blue and gold mistake,” fools a few birds into thinking that summer has come back. ”
Gorgeous New England fall
            In this poem summer is like a queen who battles every year with the “practiced Frost” of autumn. Every year she loses and leads her daisies in retreat, recording them as “lost.”  But then a warm southern wind comes back and she has second thoughts. She "pours" her song into the "lap" of hard, frosty earth. This may be her favorite troubador, the robin, accompanied by the frogs and bees and breezes. She sets the fragrant flowers growing and helps them grow with morning dew.
         Alas, in a few months the dew will once again freeze, stiffening "quietly to Quartz" upon the now yellowing "Amber Shoe" of summer.


  1. Very dickinsonian with vivid picture, memorable phrases and boundless creativity, but not my favorite of hers

  2. In a frost pocket Summer strives, South Wind stirs, South Wind struggles, soft Refrains spill, Dew stiffens quietly, to Quartz. Do not go gentle into that good night, rage, rage against the dying of the light.

  3. I was just reading Shakespeare's "Venus and Adonis," and as such I perceived a bit of unreturned affection in this poem, such as Venus' doting on the cold-hearted (i.e. frosty) Adonis. The vow that misgives the speaker in the poem may be something like a promise to oneself not to repeat the mistake, but the "south winds" soften that resolve and the cycle begins anew – the same old story!