Dickinson and Nature


There is something amiss when it comes to Emily and Nature. In poem 1298 Emily writes, ” Longing is like the Seed/That wrestles in the ground”(1-2). but the rest of the poem is strikingly barren of nature imagery apart from the mention of the sun in the last line. Yet this is not the first time that E.D. uses nature imagery in a surprising way, in poem 547 she writes, ” A Window opens like a Pod-/ Abrupt-mechanically-“(7-8) both of these poems are similar in that the imagery, though effective, is an abrupt change. In poem 1298 the nature imagery is left by the wayside for words like “Hour” and “Zone” which seek to quantify time and its passage. Meanwhile in poem 547, the nature imagery that sneaks into the poem gives way to more commonplace language about occupation and everyday life. I wonder if the subtle use of these nature centered images were Emily’s way of creating additional complexities in her poem, by establishing a tension between the natural world, which she clearly felt a deep connection with, and the established world of society .