Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

Blog

Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium

Here’s a delightful article by Maria Popova I stumbled across: Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium: A Forgotten Treasure at the Intersection of Science and Poetry

Long before she began writing poems, Dickinson undertook a rather different yet unexpectedly parallel art of contemplation and composition — the gathering, growing, classification, and pressing of flowers, which she saw as manifestations of the Muse not that dissimilar to poems.

I had no idea.

Although the original herbarium survives in the Emily Dickinson Room at Harvard’s Houghton Rare Book Library, it is so fragile that even scholars are prohibited from examining it and the out-of-print facsimile book is so prohibitively expensive that this miraculous masterpiece at the intersection of poetry and science has practically vanished from the popular imagination. But in a heartening testament to the digital humanities as a force of cultural stewardship, Harvard has digitized Dickinson’s herbarium in its totality…

There are many pictures at the link, including this one, which makes me think of spring:

This poem also makes me think of spring:

Whose are the little beds, I asked
Whose are the little beds, I asked
Which in the valleys lie?
Some shook their heads, and others smiled—
And no one made reply.

Perhaps they did not hear, I said,
I will inquire again—
Whose are the beds—the tiny beds
So thick upon the plain?

‘Tis Daisy, in the shortest—
A little further on—
Nearest the door—to wake the Ist—
Little Leontoden.

‘Tis Iris, Sir, and Aster—
Anemone, and Bell—
Bartsia, in the blanket red—
And chubby Daffodil.

Meanwhile, at many cradles
Her busy foot she plied—
Humming the quaintest lullaby
That ever rocked a child.

Hush! Epigea wakens!
The Crocus stirs her lids—
Rhodora’s cheek is crimson,
She’s dreaming of the woods!

Then turning from them reverent—
Their bedtime ’tis, she said—
The Bumble bees will wake them
When April woods are red.

Please Feel Free to Share:

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Leave A Comment