For this Earth Day, also a Saturday, I was to select an Emily Dickinson poem and change it by removing dashes and line breaks. I was then to add my own breaks as well as to add, remove, or change words. Basically, I was to make a Dickinson poem mine.
As I read various versions of her many poems, I learned that others over the years have taken license to make changes to the point that I cannot determine original forms or words. In the case of one book I have, an entire stanza of a poem was either added by one or deleted by the other.
Because today is Earth Day, I chose a Dickinson poem that relates to nature: “The Mushroom is the Elf of Plants” – (1350); or XXV, page 97, in my copy of The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson (intro and notes by Rachel Wetzsteon). Generally, Dickinson did not title her poems, thus the numbers.
Bill’s Magic Trifle
The Liberty Mushroom is
the elf of plants at evening,
but not at morning, in its truffled magic hut
it stopped upon a spot as if it always hesitated.
Yet, its whole life is shorter
than a snake’s delay
and faster than the strike.
It’s its vegetation’s juggler,
the ever-changing nature is like a bubble
on the ground or floating to the trees.
I feel as if the grass was pleased as I
to have it grow in and among her blades of
scion of Summer’s circumspect.
If Nature had a more supple face
or she could pick a favorite fairy;
if Nature had an apostate fungus
the lowly liberty cap mushroom would be him!
And a favorite ‘shroom among us.
Look both ways because then is not now.
Mind the gaps left by migration and imagination.
Happy Earth Day.