The thematic stanza for Emily Dickinson’s poetry

We may need to make up own minds over the stanza, for Emily Dickinson’s poetry. An authorial decision was impossible already with the first print. Not all poems were even titled by the poet.

 

The Higginson-Todd stanza happens to be arbitrary. The reservation is not on the punctuation only. Stanzas need to be integral components of meaning. The wind requires some thought on the comma and stanza end.

 

Of all the sounds despatched abroad,
There’s not a charge to me
Like that old measure in the boughs,
That phraseless melody
The wind does, working like a hand
Whose fingers brush the sky,
Then quiver down, with tufts of tune
Permitted gods and me.

 

When winds go round and round in bands,
And thrum upon the door,
And birds take places overhead,
To bear them orchestra,

 

I crave him grace, of summer boughs,
If such an outcast be,
He never heard that fleshless chant
Rise solemn in the tree,
As if some caravan of sound
On deserts, in the sky,
Had broken rank,
Then knit, and passed
In seamless company.

 

The comma can mark a part of a train of thought:

 

When winds go round and round in bands,
And thrum upon the door,
And birds take places overhead,
To bear them orchestra,

 

The comma would not work the same way in Success. Here, the comma marks an incomplete language structure:
not one / can tell / the definition / of victory/ comma /as he

 

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.
Not one of all the purple host
Who took the flag to-day
Can tell the definition,
So clear, of victory,
As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Break, agonized and clear!

 

The verse was reportedly published in “A Masque of Poets”, at the request of “H.H.,” the author’s fellow-townswoman and friend. It brings a picture of a brief and transient victory of the opposite side. Making my decision on the unitary, short form layout, I could follow the Houghton print image, as presented in Wikipedia.

 

houghton_72s-700_-_masque_of_poets_success

 

However, I keep the semantics of the Higginson-Todd as the one to make sense. Mistakes have happened in the media since their very beginnings. The final words as in the Houghton copy would have the one to define success experiencing uttermost failure. Opposite semantics never becomes misnomers, in Emily Dickinson’s writing.

 

The distant strains of triumph
Break, agonized and clear.
(Higginson-Todd)

 

It was integrity of the thought to make me present the Psalm of the day as a 3×3 ― 6 ― 2×3 ― 6 layout. Feel welcome.

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