Daily Archives: March 28, 2009

What is the Crocus?

The feet of people walking home
With gayer sandals go-
The Crocus-till she rises
The Vassal of the snow-
The lips at Hallelujah
Long years of practise bore
Till bye and bye these Bargemen
Walked singing on the shore.

Pearls are the Diver’s farthings
Extorted from the sea-
Pinions-the Seraph’s wagon
Pedestrian once-as we-
Night is the morning’s Canvas
Larceny-legacy-
Death, but our rapt attention
To Immortality.

My figures fail to tel me
How far the Village lies-
Whose peasants are the Angels-
Whose Cantons dot the skies-
My Classics veil their faces-
My faith that Dark adores-
Which from its solemn abbeys
Such resurrection pours.

Emily Dickinson, 1858–#7

March 28
Weather: 40s partially cloudy

What a beautiful poem. “Death, but our rapt attention/To Immortality/My figures fail to tell me/How far the village lies….” Honesty–that’s Emily Dickinson. “The Crocus–till she rises/The Vassal of the snow.”

So, what does it mean to be a vassal or slave/subject/subordinate to the snow until you “rise”? And, “pinion”–that is a loaded word. The flight feathers of a bird–if you cut them off, they can’t fly. The “Seraph” who sits next to God’s throne.

I get so much longing, and even hope, in this poem–and the Crocus is such a powerful image in the poem–I believe, of these two things. And every year, Emily gets to look forward to the Crocus emerging in her Early Spring Garden.

giant_mixed_crocus

During the Victorian era, people often gave gifts of flowers to represent some symbolic meaning that most everyone understood. Emily Dickinson did this a lot–sometimes accompanied by a poem. So, what did the crocus mean symbolically? From what I understand, to most, it represented cheefulness and gladness. But what about to Emily?

Here is a poem Emily sent to her cousin–accompanied by a Crocus:

She dwelleth in the Ground —
Where Daffodils — abide —
Her Maker — Her Metropolis —
The Universe — Her Maid —

To fetch Her Grace — and Hue —
And Fairness — and Renown —
The Firmament’s — To Pluck Her —
And fetch Her Thee — be mine —
(Emily Dickinson, 744)

I must admit, I have no experience with Crocuses. I’m a Crocus dummy. It’s not a very elegant name for a flower–in fact, it’s kind of funny.

Do you have experience with it–in your garden, or arrangements you’ve put together or received, poetry or art? What are you thoughts about this flower?

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