February Portrait ~ Emily Dickinson.
AN AMETHYST REMEMBRANCE
I held a jewel in my fingers
and went to sleep.
The day was warm, and winds were prosy;
I said: “Twill Keep.”
I woke and chid my honest finger,-
The gem was gone;
And now an amethyst remembrance
Is all I own.
Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts. Throughout her life, she seldom left her home and visitors were few. The people with whom she did come in contact, however, had an enormous impact on her poetry. She was particularly stirred by the Reverend Charles Wadsworth, whom she first met on a trip to Philadelphia. He left for the West Coast shortly after a visit to her home in 1860, and some critics believe his departure gave rise to the heartsick flow of verse from Dickinson in the years that followed. While it is certain that he was an important figure in her life, it is not clear that their relationship was romantic—she called him “my closest earthly friend.”
By the 1860s, Dickinson lived in almost complete isolation from the outside world, but actively maintained many correspondences and read widely. She spent a great deal of this time with her family. Her father, Edward Dickinson, was actively involved in state and national politics, serving in Congress for one term. Her brother, Austin, who attended law school and became an attorney, lived next door with his wife, Susan Gilbert. Dickinson’s younger sister, Lavinia, also lived at home for her entire life in similar isolation. Lavinia and Austin were not only family, but intellectual companions for Dickinson during her lifetime.
While Dickinson was extremely prolific as a poet and regularly enclosed poems in letters to friends, she was not publicly recognized during her lifetime. The first volume of her work was published posthumously in 1890 and the last in 1955. She died in Amherst in 1886.
Upon her death, Dickinson’s family discovered forty handbound volumes of nearly 1,800 poems, or “fascicles” as they are sometimes called. Dickinson assembled these booklets by folding and sewing five or six sheets of stationery paper and copying what seem to be final versions of poems. The handwritten poems show a variety of dash-like marks of various sizes and directions (some are even vertical). The poems were initially unbound and published according to the aesthetics of her many early editors, who removed her unusual and varied dashes, replacing them with traditional punctuation. The current standard version of her poems replaces her dashes with an en-dash, which is a closer typographical approximation to her intention. The original order of the poems was not restored until 1981, when Ralph W. Franklin used the physical evidence of the paper itself to restore her intended order, relying on smudge marks, needle punctures, and other clues to reassemble the packets. Since then, many critics have argued that there is a thematic unity in these small collections, rather than their order being simply chronological or convenient. The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson (Belknap Press, 1981) is the only volume that keeps the order intact.
Some information on Emily Dickinson was found at:
https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/emily-dickinson and at Wikipedia.
Emily Dickinson was a jewel indeed and so is the book – ‘The New England Butt’ry shelf Almanac. By Mary Mason Campbell. Emily is featured for February’s portrait, February’s flower is the Amaranth, as I shared in my last post.
February Portrait Bird ~ THE SONG SPARROW
The most optimistic and hopeful bird we know is the Song Sparrow, who arrives in the garden – if indeed he has ever left it- to sing his first Song of Spring in the wintry cold and dark of February.
`The New England Butt’ry Almanac by Mary Mason Campbell
I sit and hear the blithe song-sparrow sing
His strain of rapture not to be suppressed…..
That song of perfect trust, of perfect cheer,
Courageous, constant, free of doubt or fear.
We have some lovely little sparrow living about us. They serenade Mitzy and I on our promenades. We also have doves that coo to us in the morning and a cardinal couple who sing to us from the trees out back as we sit in our rocking chair sipping our tea. What lovely feathered friends to you have about you?
FEBRUARY ~ Portrait – Tea Time Delectable
~ Rosemary Butter –
~ Mother’s Ginger Tea Cakes
~ Quaker Maids
~Apricot filled cookies
~Doubles Chocolate Tea Cakes
~Gillian’s Tea Loaf
You can find the recipes for these delectables in the book – ‘The New England Butt’ry Shelf Almanac’ By Mary Mason Campbell & Tasha Tudor
Happy leap year to you. I know I’m glad I had an extra day!!
You can find many of the books I mention in my post at:
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DO NOT PIN!!