Sunday, May 18, 2014

Poem of the Day: "There is another sky" by Emily Dickinson

"There is another sky" by Emily Dickinson is the Songs of Eretz Poem of the Day for May 18, 2014.  The poem is in the public domain and therefore legally reprinted here.  Dickinson's poetry has been examined several times in the Poetry Review, most recently in a post of December 31, 2013, which includes a brief biography

There is another sky
Emily Dickinson

There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;
Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields -
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;
Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum:
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come!

William Austin Dickinson (1829 - 1895) (pictured) was Emily's brother, the eldest of the three Dickinson siblings.  Emily, about eighteen months his junior, had a deep affection for her brother, especially when they were children.  Reference to this and additional biographical information may be found here:

Dickinson certainly demonstrates her famous enigmatic side in "There is another sky."  On its face, the poem seems to be a plea for Austin to spend more quality time with Emily.  Austin did have to leave his sisters alone in their Amherst abode at times to conduct business elsewhere, and, even when he was home, he could sometimes be aloof [see above citation].  

The "garden" conceit could be an elaborate metaphor for Emily's undying and unchanging sisterly love for her brother.  The only line that does not fit is /Though it be darkness there/, especially since just prior to this line, Dickinson speaks of a place "serene and fair" with "sunshine."

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