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Emily Dickinson's "So has a Daisy vanished"

Emily Dickinson's poems inform my own worldview as a poet and scholar. They dramatize the human spirit via deep attention to life's details.

Introduction and Text of "So has a Daisy vanished"

In Emily Dickinson's "So has a Daisy vanished," the speaker, who possesses the ability to observe with a keen eye her natural surroundings, has been moved to wonder about the soul (life force) of "a Daisy" and many other "slipper[s]" who have given up their physical casements of beautiful blooms and glorious green stems and simply vanished.

The speaker is dramatizing her ponderings and musings, regarding the whereabouts of the souls of those lovely natural creatures after they have completed their sojourn upon the earth. Thus, she focuses on their final days of earthly glory, as she muses upon eternal questions.

So has a Daisy vanished

So has a Daisy vanished
From the fields today –
So tiptoed many a slipper
To Paradise away –

Oozed so in crimson bubbles
Day's departing tide –
Blooming – tripping – flowing
Are ye then with God?

Reading of "So has a Daisy vanished"

Commentary

Concluding her drama with a rhetorical question, the speaker is suggesting that the souls of plants vanish into their Creator, just as human and animal souls do. She is demonstrating her faith in the view that immorality remains the basic condition of existence for every entity that exists.

The issue of "immortality" remained Emily Dickinson’s "flood subject," which appears as the theme of many of her little dramas.

First Stanza: A Flower in Heaven

So has a Daisy vanished
From the fields today –
So tiptoed many a slipper
To Paradise away –

The speaker begins with a statement informing her readers/listeners that a lovely flower has gone, disappeared "from the fields today." She begins with the conjunctive adverb "so," seeming to indicate that she is merely taking up a thought that began somewhere else and at an earlier interval.

Then again employing the telling "so," the speaker adds that many other flowers have also tripped off to "Paradise."

Along with the lovely "Daisy," the other "slipper[s]" have all gone missing, but the speaker suggests that they have metaphorically died and gone to Heaven. While the "Daisy" has rather generically "vanished," the others have "tiptoed" off "to Paradise."

The speaker is playing with the language of loss, which almost always produces a melancholy in the very sensitive hearts of perceptive observers. Instead of merely dying, the flowers vanish from the fields and tiptoe away.

That they all have metaphorically gone on to "Paradise" demonstrates that the faith and courage of the sensitive heart of this discerning observer are fully operational.

That the speaker allows that these creatures of nature have gone to Heaven or Paradise shows that she has a firm grasp on her faith in the existence of the soul as a permanent life force that plants as well as animals possess.

This speaker operates under the faith that all life is divinely endowed.

The flowers leave behind their physical encasements, but they take their soul encasement and then scurry off to the astral world, from where they will likely return to the Earth or some other planet to continue working out their karma—an eventuality that informs the procedure for the animal kingdom as well, for those who entertain that cosmic view.

Second Stanza: To Be with the Divine Creator

Oozed so in crimson bubbles
Day's departing tide –
Blooming – tripping – flowing
Are ye then with God?

While the speaker remains assured that plant life force is as eternal as that of the animal kingdom, she is not so sure about where each individual plant goes after its demise. Thus she wonders if they are "with God."

Likely influenced by the Christian concepts of Heaven and Hell, the speaker likely wonders if plant behavior while on Earth may require a reckoning that leads to Heaven or Hell. That she asks in the more affirmative mood demonstrates her optimistic sensitivity.

Yogic spiritual leader, Paramahansa Yogananda, has likened life on Earth to vanishing bubbles. He has explained that many deep thinking philosophers, sages, and poets have realized that the things of this world are like bubbles in the ocean.

Those individual things such as stars, flowers, animals, and people suddenly appear, experience a life only for a brief period of time, and then they disappear as swiftly as they appeared.

In his poem, "Vanishing Bubbles," Yogananda dramatizes that brief earthly sojourn of the myriad life forms, as he unearths the solution for those sensitive minds and hearts that grieve after the loss of those individuals whom they had loved and who yet must vanish like bubbles.

And that solution is the simple knowledge that although the physical encasement of each individual has indeed vanished, the soul of each individual continues to exist; therefore, there is no actual or total act of vanishing or death.

The speaker in Dickinson's poem is suggesting that she is aware of the eternal, everlasting nature of the soul. After the lovely bloom has been maneuvered into the world on "crimson bubbles," it will live its brief life, prancing about with the breeze.

And then with the "departing tide," its day will come to an end, but only for its physical encasement, which it will leave behind. The speaker intuits that the soul—or life force—will continue, but she then poses what is likely a rhetoric question, "Are ye then with God?"

Thus, while she surely believes that the answer is yes, she appears to rather wonder about the issue instead of making a definitive statement, leaving the issue open to diverse views.

Emily Dickinson - this famous daguerrotype at age 17 is likely the only extant image of the poet

Emily Dickinson - this famous daguerrotype at age 17 is likely the only extant image of the poet

© 2019 Linda Sue Grimes