Poet: Emily Dickinson
These are the days when Birds come back
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: Published/Written in 1955
Poem of the Day:
Sep 26 2002
Comment 11 of 11, added on May 30th, 2012 at 3:33 AM.
I liked your poem. Very good
jayant from India
Comment 10 of 11, added on May 10th, 2011 at 11:48 AM.
I think Emily is just talking about how we are deceived by our senses. We cannot trust what we see, we need to be more keen in our judgements.
Comment 9 of 11, added on September 14th, 2010 at 12:40 AM.
These are the days when birds come back
The first two stanzas introduce a change in season that is both sudden and false (“sophistries”). Thus, I believe Dickinson is referring to an Indian Summer, where cold weather is experienced one day and warm the next. Such is why only a few birds are duped into returning from their migration. The “blue and gold mistake” emphasizes this feeling of a change in temperature which should not have occurred, and is seemingly unreal. For some reason “a blue and gold mistake” also brought imagery of death to my mind, which at first seemed out of place, but I believe shares a connection with the Indian Summer. It is the brief, fleeting sense of summer (life) as the cold, winter approaches (death). “Oh fraud that cannot cheat the Bee,” seems to say that though this Indian Summer has a few of the birds guessing what season it truly is, such duplicity has not fooled the bees. The next two lines stress that the trickery has “almost” fooled Dickinson as well – here, I must stress “almost.” This line also serves as the introduction to what I believe is the theme of the poem – religion and the afterlife – with the word “belief”.
As the poem continues, the religious allusions become far more obvious and meaningful. The next stanza brings us back to the change in season with the “altered air.” Here, I noticed that the word “altered” also fits quite well with the religious theme. In the last two stanzas the religious allusions are rampant, forming meaning and shape in each line. “Sacrament,” “Last Communion,” “sacred emblems,” “consecrated bread,” and “immortal wine” finally brought me to my best understanding of this poem. Dickinson has created a metaphor of the Indian Summer, filled with religious allusions, to discuss faith in the afterlife and the immortality it supposedly grants. I believe that Dickinson is asserting that the afterlife and faith in immortality through heaven, is an illusion much like an Indian Summer. It fools us, with a taste, a hope of life as death is coming, but that inevitably the Last Communion – final judgment before death – is actually nothing more than a chicanery, that immortality cannot be found through religion, for we must remember that the 'Indian Summer' only “almost” fooled her.
Adrian Wassel from United States
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