Cloud Hovering
Emily Dickinson's Nature Mysticism : A Photo Poetic Labyrinth
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Circuit I - (02) It Sounded As If the Streets Were Running (A Gale) (J-1397) (F-1454)

(1) It sounded as if the streets were running,
And then — the streets stood still —
(2) Eclipse — was all we could see at the Window
And Awe — was all we could feel.

(3) By and by — the boldest stole out of his Covert,  
To see if Time was there —
(4) Nature was in an Opal Apron,
Mixing fresher Air.

(Below: an original manuscript version for above,
one of four extant variations, Franklin #C,
without editing or imposed lineation.)


(1) It sounded  
as if the
streets were
running
And then – the
streets stood
still –
(2) Eclipse – was  
all we could
see at the
Window
And Awe – was
all we could
feel.

(3) By and by –
the boldest
stole out of
his Covert
To see if
Time was there –
(4) Nature was in  
an Opal Apron –
Mixing fresher
Air.

~ Emily Dickinson

Commentary adapted from Emily Dickinson's Poems & Letters
(1) "The dust did scoop itself like hands and threw away the road. The wagons
quickened on the streets, the thunder hurried slow." ~ (J-0824) (F-0796)
(1-2) "I always ran home to awe when a child, if anything befell me.
He was an awful mother, but I liked him better than none."
~ (L #405)
(1-4) "Blue is blue — the world through — amber — amber — dew — dew.
Seek — friend — and see. Heaven is shy of Earth — that's all.
Bashful Heaven — thy Lovers small — hide — too — from thee."
~ ( J-0703) (F-0733)
(2) "It storms furiously now - and the rain and hail take
turns beating the windows. The sun hasn't shone since Saturday,
all that time the wind's blown almost a constant gale, and
it has been drear enough." ~ (L #87)
(2) "The sun shone whole at intervals — then half — then utter hid —
as if himself were optional and had estates of cloud."
~ (J-0606) ( F-0523)
(2) "The soul's distinct connection with immortality [...] —
as lightning on a landscape exhibits sheets of place — not yet
suspected — but for flash — and click — and suddenness."
~ (J-0974) (F-0901)
(2-3) "To pile like thunder to its close, then crumble grand away, while
everything created hid — this — would be poetry." ~ (J-1247) (F-1353)
(2-3) ~ See ED letter #471: embeds poetry as prose (the form imitating
the content), where the syllable count or "clock" stops counting down
momentarily at 4 (the same line where "stopped" is stated)
and then concludes with "Judgment day" at (3).
--------
"We have had no rain for six weeks (8)
except one thunder shower, (7)
and that so terrible (6)
that we locked the doors, (5)
and the clock stopped (4)
which made it like (4)
Judgment day." (3)
--------
(biblical ref. Amos 8:9)
(2-3) "Eclipses suns imply."
~ (J-0689-alternative) (F-0284)
(2-4) "I found you were gone, by accident,  
as I find systems are,
or seasons of the year,
and obtain no cause, but suppose
a treason of progress
that dissolves as it goes."
--------
~ (L #280, uncatalogued poem, embedded in prose)
(3) "I never knew how to tell time by the clock till I was 15.
My father thought he had taught me, but I did not understand,
and I was afraid to say I did not, and afraid to ask anyone
else lest he should know." ~ (L #342b)
(3) "The Sun came out when you were gone. I chid him for delay —
He said we had not needed him. Oh prying Sun!" ~ (L #399)
(3-4) "We have had two hurricanes within as many hours,
one of which came near enough to untie my apron —
but this moment the sun shines..." ~ (L #690) (photos)
(4) "The rainbow never tells me that gust and storm are by,
yet is she more convincing than Philosophy." ~ (J-0097) (F-0076)
(ref. Nature's wordless teaching vs. Socrates' dialogues)
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Photo Credit: earlywomenmasters.net ~
Hovering Clouds, Washington Square Park, NYC