The Seasons: Four Poems of Emily Dickinson

Song Cycle by Ronald A. Beckett

Word count: 375

1. Winter: There’s a certain slant of light [sung text not yet checked]

There's a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.

None may teach it anything,
'T is the seal, despair, -
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.

When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, 't is like the distance
On the look of death.

Authorship

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , no title, copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Spring: A light exists in spring [sung text not yet checked]

A light exists in Spring
Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here

A color stands abroad
On solitary hills
That science cannot overtake,
But human nature feels.

It waits upon the lawn;
It shows the furthest tree
Upon the furthest slope we know;
It almost speaks to me.

Then, as horizons step,
Or noons report away,
Without the formula of sound,
It passes, and we stay:

A quality of loss
Affecting our content,
As trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a sacrament.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Esiste una luce in primavera", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Summer: It will be Summer - eventually [sung text not yet checked]

It will be Summer, eventually.
Ladies - with parasols -
Sauntering Gentlemen - with Canes -
And little Girls - with Dolls -

Will tint the pallid landscape -
As 'twere a bright Bouquet -
Tho' drifted deep, in Parian -
The Village lies - today -

The Lilacs - bending many a year -
Will sway with purple load -
The Bees - will not despise the tune -
Their Forefathers - have hummed -

The Wild Rose - redden in the Bog -
The Aster - on the Hill
Her everlasting fashion - set -
And Covenant Gentians - frill -

Till Summer folds her miracle -
As Women - do - their Gown -
Or Priests - adjust the Symbols -
When Sacrament - is done -

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Autumn: Besides the autumn poets sing [sung text not yet checked]

Besides the autumn poets sing,
A few prosaic days
A little this side of the snow
And that side of the haze.

A few incisive mornings,
A few ascetic eves, —
Gone Mr. Bryant’s golden-rod,
And Mr. Thomson’s sheaves.

Still is the bustle in the brook,
Sealed are the spicy valves;
Mesmeric fingers softly touch
The eyes of many elves.

Perhaps a squirrel may remain,
My sentiments to share.
Grant me, O Lord, a sunny mind,
Thy windy will to bear!

Authorship

Confirmed with Dickinson, Emily, The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, Boston: Little, Brown, 1924, Bartleby.com, 2000. www.bartleby.com/113/2049.html.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]