Friday, July 16, 2010

~~~Poem-A-Day~~~Emily Dickinson~~~~"The Guest is gold and crimson" 15/1775




The Guest is gold and crimson —
An Opal guest and gray —
Of Ermine is his doublet —
His Capuchin gay —

He reaches town at nightfall —
He stops at every door —
Who looks for him at morning
I pray him too — explore
The Lark's pure territory —
Or the Lapwing's shore!

by Emily Dickinson

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Author:Emily_Dickinson/Index/1-99

Certain that the guest is the "Sunset"! How would I know this? Knowing that Emily loves to personify nature and use aphorims. Let's look at the first stanza;

The Guest is gold and crimson —
An Opal guest and gray —
Of Ermine is his doublet —
His Capuchin gay —

The "Sunset" is gold and crimson. This would make sense. "An opal guest and gray" opal being semi-precious stones and multi-coloured translucent (sounds like transcendent!) and gray, that colours in the clouds can also be gray, and "Of Ermine his "doublet" or coat jacket. His "Capuchin gay". I am not sure what a capuchin is except for a monkey, so I will look up and find out exactly what Emily is meaning here. Out of the three definitions, I would think this is the most likely, although maybe Emily is alluding to a friar or a monkey, maybe?
Undoubtedly the reference of "Capuchin" (notice the word is Capitalized, why? Must have some important allegorical usage of a personal nature for Ms. Emily or...something else. So far Capuchin is...

". a hooded cloak for women" http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/capuchin

Although Emily is mentioning the guest (surprizingly NOT capitalized) as "his". So the guest is wearing a hooded cloak made for women called a capuchin...ok(?).?

Let's look at the last stanza; (this is a short poem only 2 stanzas; interesting...)

He reaches town at nightfall —
He stops at every door —
Who looks for him at morning
I pray him too — explore
The Lark's pure territory —
Or the Lapwing's shore!

Here are some catchy and "Dickinsonesque" words and phrases, and symbols. The lapwing is a plover bird, a shore bird that has a long beak. I nursed one once but they are extremely sensitive animals and it did not survive. Maybe Emily is trying to use these two birds as an example of something, but what? The Lark? (notice also capitalized?) is what to a Lapwing. Well I know the Lark is a singing bird. What exactly is Emily getting the sunset to "explore"? Maybe the morning? When these birds are prevalent on the shore? Wouldn't they be there at sunset? No, maybe they nest just before sunset. Now this I have to find out. So Ms. Emily is also a Ornithologist? (Bird Specialist). Does she see herself as these birds? There is something here which I have not grasped as yet; between these two similar but very different in behaviour birds. Again "lark" can have seven meanings!Now I am thinking that Emily is talking about another kind of bird that is gold and crimson coloured; what kind of bird would that be? After a bit of research, I found that this "bird" of Crimson and Gold is the mythological bird the Phoenix which is a resurrected Christ symbol. See below re: the birds of Emily's poems!

lap·wing   /ˈlæpˌwɪŋ/ Show Spelled[lap-wing] Show IPA
–noun
1. a large Old World plover, Vanellus vanellus, having a long, slender, upcurved crest, an erratic, flapping flight, and a shrill cry.
2. any of several similar, related plovers1. Any of various chiefly Old World birds of the family Alaudidae, especially the skylark, having a sustained, melodious song.
2. Any of several similar birds, such as the meadowlark.Any of several Old World birds of the genus Vanellus related to the plovers, especially V. vanellus, having a narrow crest and erratic flight behavior. Also called green plover, pewit.[By folk etymology from Middle English lapwink, hoopoe, lapwing, from Old English hlapewince : hlapan, to leap + *wincan, to waver.]http://www.thefreedictionary.com/lapwing
The Phoenix in Different Cultures

The Mythological Phoenix Bird is Crimson and Gold! And here is the reference to Christ as per Dickinsonian wisdom;

known mythological creature in many ancient cultures, the phoenix has always been regarded with great awe, as a fabulous bird of good fortune. In Christianity, the story of the phoenix's resurrection from death has been viewed as a metaphor for Christ's resurrection.

The oriental version, known as the Feng huang in China, lives an eternal life without having to go through the cycle of death and rebirth. It just lives forever.

http://www.squidoo.com/Mythical-Phoenix-Bird



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[Middle English laveroc, larke, from Old English lwerce.]

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lark 2 (lärk)
n.
1. A carefree or spirited adventure.
2. A harmless prank.
intr.v. larked, lark·ing, larks
To engage in spirited fun or merry pranks.

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[Short for skylark, to frolic, or alteration of dialectal lake, play (from Middle English leik, laik, from Old Norse leikr).]

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larker n.
larkish adj.

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.


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lark1
n
1. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Animals) any brown songbird of the predominantly Old World family Alaudidae, esp the skylark: noted for their singing
2. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Animals) short for titlark, meadowlark
3. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Animals) (often capital) any of various slender but powerful fancy pigeons, such as the Coburg Lark
up with the lark up early in the morning
[Old English lāwerce, lǣwerce, of Germanic origin; related to German Lerche, Icelandic lǣvirki]

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lark2 Informal
n
1. a carefree adventure or frolic
2. a harmless piece of mischief
what a lark! how amusing!
vb (intr)
1. (often foll by about) to have a good time by frolicking
2. to play a prank
[originally slang, perhaps related to laik]
larker n
larkish adj
larkishness n
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/lapwing

2 comments:

  1. How would or how could Emily suggest to the Phoenix bird that he should explore the shore and become like the regular birds? Again the reference to "shore" and the Bargemen waiting there. Referencing earlier poems. Is Emily telling the Christ figure as Phoenix to go to the shore where the souls of the dearly departed are waiting? Maybe?

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