Sunday, July 18, 2010

~~~Emily Dickinson~~~Poem-A-Day~~~"I would distil a cup",

I would distil a cup,
And bear to all my friends,
Drinking to her no more astir,
By beck, or burn, or moor!

Emily Dickinson

Don't be fooled by a poem with such seemingly overt abbreviation! This is a long post for such a short poem!

Today's poem is short and sweet. What I love about Emily Dickinson is her natural ambiance; Miss Emily writes words so effortlessly, pure flow of conscienceous. Just like I use to do before my keyboard went Qwerty I mean Querky or slightly tense than relaxed as to make one go SQuirky when I am know going backward speech mode aka dyslexic or is this just my tendency to see things backwards as I was born during an electro-magnetic flux of some reverse anomaly which would explain MOST DYSLEXICS, maybe? So like that play "You were born on a rotten day" You Were Born On A Rotten Day because the electro-magnetic field reversed and you are born neuro-mechanically backwards. Huh. It could happen!

Back to the poem; "I would distill a cup"

Emily likes "calm" waters, as astired waters are emotional waters and she wants calm and serenity in the "astir waters" or "azure waters". Many possible meanings here (see below). Jesus did calm the stirred waters and could walk on these calmed waters (New Testament). There is undoubtedly Biblical reference in this poem as to this phenomena.

There are a lot of double entendres or double meanings behind some of the words in Emily's poem today. "Astir" can mean something is stirring or astir. Simple meaning here. However, if you look up the word "astir" you will find a phalanx of multiple meanings mostly of historic significance in the mythology department of which Emily is well-versed. So her "simple" poem is not so "simple" after all, if you consider the many deep meanings she has woven into a single word! And on purpose!

For example; look at the word "astir"; here are some examples of the possible meaning;

Here is the regular meaning for "astir"

a·stir (-stûr)
1. Moving about; being in motion.
2. Having gotten out of bed.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Seriously I do believe that Emily is saying how much her heart is "astir" when her friends are around; maybe it is that simple, however, there may be more meanings, given the many allude to and direct references to Greek allegory. Maybe Emily was contemplating these famous Greek islands, as she was wont to fantasize about foreign lands. Although steeped, steamed and streamed in the surrounds of Amherst, Emily MAY HAVE been reaching beyond her breadth and grasp and had a foray into the imaginative lands of Greece for a "mental holiday"? Hey, it's possible, I do this? Don't you?

astir [əˈstɜː]
adj (postpositive)
1. awake and out of bed
2. in motion; on the move

Fairly straight-forward! Now here are the more "mysterious and esoteric meanings" for astir"

astir of naxos which is an incredible Greek Island; light azure colour water

astir of paros which is another Greek island darker azure colour water

and then there is "astrid" which is a flower which may or may not have been a double-entendre meaning for Miss Emily.

What exactly is this "distilled" cup? Water which is distilled is boiled to boiling temperature first and it is then devoid of bacteria, the sediment tends to settle at the bottom of the cup and the oxygen is GONE! Distilled water is purified water and is used to clean wounds, etc. It has many medicinal uses. It is "inert" water. Flat water.

Wait a minute my subconscious intelligent ID says! "Let us not lean upon our own understanding" Let's get the goods from the "source"! So the source says go to Wikipedia again and look up the meaning of "distilled". (hey Physics class has been a good while ago for me now! Time for a refresher!) (this has a good bit of history on Emily's Amherst MA)

Yet in the E.D. poem I see this "distilled" cup as a reference to Christ (again). I am wrong! It is about a stream if I had caught the last line first (see the dyslexia comes in handy in poetry);

"By beck, or burn, or moor!" E.D.

Ah-ha! Read the Wiki account of the above beck burn moor reference; it is not what I had originally thought. It is more of a reference to the natural forces in water or streams!

"A stream is a body of water with a current, confined within a bed and stream banks. Depending on its locale or certain characteristics, a stream may be referred to as a branch, brook, beck, burn, creek, crick, kill, lick, rill, river syke, bayou, rivulet, streamage, wash, or run. In some countries or communities a stream may be defined by its size. In the United States a stream is classified as a watercourse less than 60 feet (18 metres) wide. Streams are important as conduits in the water cycle, instruments in groundwater recharge, and they serve as corridors for fish and wildlife migration. The biological habitat in the immediate vicinity of a stream is called a riparian zone. Given the status of the ongoing Holocene extinction, streams play an important corridor role in connecting fragmented habitats and thus in conserving biodiversity. The study of streams and waterways in general is known as surface hydrology and is a core element of environmental geography.[1]" Town of Amherst was founded in 1759 in Hampshire County of Western Massachusetts. It contains a land area of 27.7 square miles. The University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst College and Hampshire College all reside in Amherst. The total population as of the year 2000 was 34, 874 with 23,570 being UMass students. Amherst is bordered by Hadley to the west, Sunderland and Leverett to the north, Shutesbury, Pelham, and Belchertown to the east, and Granby and South Hadley to the south. It is 23 miles from Springfield, 18 miles from Greenfield, 50 miles from Pittsfield, 87 miles from Boston, and 157 miles from New York City.


Heritage Surveys, Inc. (Land Surveying and Civil Engineering) is building a compilation of historical pictures and sketches of the towns of Western Massachusetts from its archives of ephemera and books. This is a work in progress.

Massachusetts Agricultural College, to become the University of Massachusetts Amherst

View of Amherst College grounds and beyond

The Town of Amherst was originally known as the Second Precinct of Hadley and by 1735 has begun to enjoy most of the prestige and responsibilities of an independent community. The date 1759 marked her recognition as a "district," with a name of her own. As a district, Amherst was entitled legally to all the privileges of township except that of sending a representative to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth; but under the stress and strain of the Revolutionary War, she was tacitly permitted, even encouraged, to exercise that prerogative as well.

The Stockbridge House on the University of Massachusetts campus, built almost certainly in 1728, is a dignified symbol of her colonial days. In it citizens met to lay plans for a village church, which was duly orgnanized in 1739, with a meeting house on the site of the present Octagon on the Amherst College campus. Amherst was spared most of the perils of Indian warfare. In fact, there is no evidence that Native-Americans ever lived within her borders; they undoubtedly preferred locations nearer the Connecticut River. Amherst does have two small streams, coursing through Factory Hollow and Mill Valley, streams which in early times provided water power for gristmills and sawmills. The little community was at this time largely devoted to farming, but there were two Amherst boys in the class of 1771 at Harvard, an inkling, perhaps, of her academic future.

So far as Amherst herself was involved, the Revolutionary War was neither destructive nor deadly. No Amherst acre was ravated, no Amherst soldier was killed. the village was torn by bitter dissension, however, due to the fact that many of the most influential citizens were Tories. This spirited division led, throughout the war, to local tension and strife. The Stockbridge House became, briefly, a detention camp for a few ouspoken "disloyalists."

By 1820, Amherst was well on her way toward becoming an educational center. Noah Webster was working on his dictionary, and was, moreover, a public-spirited resident. Nearly forty Amherst boys had been away at college: Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Middlebury and Williams. the "little red schoolhouses" were humming with spelling bees. And in 1814 Amherst had opened the first of her several private schools, Amherst Academy. The success and appeal of Amherst Academy were such that in 1821 enlightened citizens, after experiencing innumerable difficulties, launched a more ambitious and enduring educational enterprise, namely, Amherst College.

-Source: The Hampshire History 1662-1962, copyright Hampshire County Commisioners, Northampton, MA , 1964

South Hadley

East Longmeadow
West Springfield

New Salem

Land Surveying and Civil Engineering Services
for Western Massachusetts
Boundary, Topographical, & Construction Layout Surveys
Mortgage Inspection, Title Insurance (ALTA) & Land Court Surveys
Municipal Roadway & Utility Surveys
Computer Aided Design (CAD) for Subdivisions, Individual Sites, and Roadways
Deed Studies and Historical Research
Percolation & Soil Testing by Certified Soil Evaluators
Wetland Identification and Permitting

Undoubtedly if Emily were still alive today (she is in Spirit) she would be involved in the above link. It is a fascinating study!

Hope you enjoy your distill water via Emily Dickinson today!

Chiccoreal's take on E.D. poem

Oh Emily
You want to stir something in me
Akin to Jesus
As friends
There is no need
to fear the wake
left behind
after the storm
when all is calm
once more.


ps I tried to add more pics for your enjoyment; but unfortunately they would not d/l or load today! Why? I am not sure...must be some reMOTE problemo?

please come again! Everyday! A poem A day! By Emily Dickinson! Thank-you!


  1. Ok I totally forgot about the healing waters or Holy water! duh!

  2. Distilled water go to

    Distilled water is water that has many of its impurities removed through distillation. Distillation involves boiling the water and then condensing the steam into a clean container.
    Fresh water has been distilled from sea water since at least ca. 200 AD when the process was clearly described by Alexander of Aphrodisias.[1] Its history predates this, as a passage in Aristotle's Meteorologica (II.3, 358b16) refers to the distillation of water.

  3. More research needed on Emily's shorter versed poems; What are they exactly; well I will be delving into this soon;

  4. On my Transcendentalist Research today (yeah, I am beginning all over again!) I found out..something neat! Yes ! Water PLAYS A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN THE POEMS AND THOUGHTS OF THE TRANSCENDENTALISTS MOVERS AND SHAKERS!!! AH-HA MOMENT FOLKS! read Thoreau in Walden discuss the importance of water; "In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Brahmin, priest of Brahma, and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water-jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges." (I am trying to figure all this out and well, I might have to go back over the whole works of E.D.'s now that I have this new information and probably lots more of new information to come..that's the fun FOLKS!

  5. And then I caught onto this!
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Transcendentalism was a group of new ideas in literature, religion, culture, and philosophy that emerged in New England in the early to middle 19th century. It is sometimes called American transcendentalism to distinguish it from other uses of the word transcendental. Transcendentalism began as a protest against the general state of culture and society, and in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard and the doctrine of the Unitarian church taught at Harvard Divinity School. Among transcendentalists' core beliefs was an ideal spiritual state that 'transcends' the physical and empirical and is realized only through the individual's intuition, rather than through the doctrines of established religions. Prominent transcendentalists included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Amos Bronson Alcott, Orestes Brownson, William Henry Channing, James Freeman Clarke, Christopher Pearse Cranch, John Sullivan Dwight, Convers Francis, Margaret Fuller, William Henry Furness, Frederick Henry Hedge, Theodore Parker, Elizabeth Peabody, George Ripley, and Jones."
    AS YOU CAN TELL, I'LL BE BUSY READING ALL ABOUT THIS AND TRYING TO DELVE DEEPER into these hidden truths! Oh how hidden? Like Emily's Secret garden cubby of Mystical poetic meaning...will I find in time to SOS's? Hopefully!

  6. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Nature is an essay written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, published anonymously in 1836. It is in this essay that the foundation of transcendentalism is put forth, a belief system that espouses a non-traditional appreciation of nature. Recent advances in zoology, botany, and geology confirmed Emerson's intuitions about the intricate relationships of Nature at large

  7. Dear me -- what a lot of thought and research Miss D's little poem inspired!