Squirrel, Washington Square Park Snowstorm
Emily Dickinson's Nature Mysticism : A Photo Poetic Labyrinth
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(Click anywhere on the garden diagram below to go to that section of the labyrinth)
Circuit III - (22) It Sifts from Leaden Sieves (J-0311) (F-0291)

(1) It sifts from leaden sieves,    
It powders all the wood,
(2) It fills with alabaster wool
The wrinkles of the road.

(3) It makes an even face    
Of mountain and of plain —
(4) Unbroken forehead from the east
Unto the east again.

(5) It reaches to the fence,    
It wraps it, rail by rail,
(6) Till it is lost in fleeces;
It flings a crystal veil

(7) On stump and stack and stem —    
The summer's empty room,
(8) Acres of seams, where harvests were,
Recordless, but for them.

(9) It ruffles wrists of posts,    
As ankles of a queen —
(10) Then stills its artisans like ghosts,
Denying they have been.

(Below: a second manuscript version of the same
poem, without editing or imposed lineation, excepting
Dickinson's alternative, "Figures" added.
"Capricorn" is the Zodiac sign for December.)


(1) It sifts from  
Leaden Sieves –
It powders all
the Wood –
(2) It fills with  
Alabaster Wool
The Wrinkles
of the Road –

(3) It scatters  
like the Birds –
Condenses like
a Flock –
(4) Like Juggler's  
Figures situates
Upon a baseless
Arc –

(5) It traverses  
yet halts –
Disperses as
it stays –
(6) Then curls  
itself in Capricorn –
Denying that
it was.

~ Emily Dickinson

Commentary adapted from Emily Dickinson's Poems & Letters
(1-4) "Without the snow's tableau, winter were lie — to me —
because I see — New Englandly." (J-0285) (F-0256)
(1-10) "The snow is so white and sudden it seems almost like a
Change of Heart — though I don't mean a 'Conversion' —
I mean a Revolution." ~ (L #678)
(1-10) "The terror of the winter has made a little creature of me,
who thought myself so bold." ~ (L #360)
(2) "This was in the white of the year, that was in the green,
drifts were as difficult then to think as daisies now to be seen."
(J-0995) (F-1014)
(3-4) "It storms in Amherst five days - it snows, and then it rains,
and then soft fogs like vails hang on all the houses, and then
the days turn Topaz, like a lady's pin." ~ (L #212)
(3-4) "The lower metres of the year, when nature's laugh is done — the
Revelations of the book whose Genesis is June." ~ (J-1115) (F-1142)
(3-6) "I come in flakes, dear Dr. Holland, for verily it snows." ~ (L #181)
(6) "This that would greet — an hour ago — is quaintest distance —
now — [Nevertheless] had it a guest from Paradise...
match me the crystal reticence — match me the solid calm."
~ (J-0778) (F-0879-alternative)
(7-10) "Yet have I much bouquet upon the window pane of moss and fern.
I call them Saints' flowers, because they do not romp as other
flowers do, but stand so still and white." ~ (L #213)
(9) "The crocus till she rises the vassal of the snow."
~ (J-0031) (F-0016)
(9-10) "February passed like a skate and I know March." ~ (L #315)
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