Whole Gulfs — of Red, and Fleets — of Red —
And Crews — of solid Blood —
Did place upon the West — Tonight —
As 'twere specific Ground —
And They — appointed Creatures —
In Authorized Arrays —
Due — promptly — as a Drama —
That bows — and disappears —
F468 (1862) J658
I'm enjoying the occasional sunset and sunrise picture Dickinson paints. This one imagines a red gulf with a fleet of red ships crewed by sailors "of solid Blood." The montage seems assembled as if it were a performance on a particular parade ground. Each boat and crew member has an alloted position, a time to appear, and then when the show is over, the crew takes its bows "and disappears."
The first line comes on strong with the one-syllable words in regular iambic tetrameter. The reversal of the 'lf" of "Gulfs" with the "fl" of "Fleets" adds a textured contrast to the short bursts of the repeated "Red." The rest of the first stanza maintains the momentum as the sunset climaxes.
The second stanza, just like the sunset, begins to ebb. There are more ellipses, the reader needing to fill in words the poet has left out. The tetrameter lines lack the final accented syllable, trailing off with a feminine ending. The last word, "disappears," seems almost whispered in contrast to the poem's hearty and vivid opening line.