My Back Pages: Emily Dickinson, “I tend my flowers for thee —“


It’s almost Spring (really! soon!) and the green leaf-tips and purple-edged buds of crocus flowers have been peeping up from the dirt in front-yard garden patches along my street.

For me, no writer conveys the anticipation of each changing season as well as Emily Dickinson. I love Dickinson’s poem beginning with the line “I tend my flowers for thee —,” especially this flower-filled stanza, which evokes the fragrance of a garden in bloom:

Carnations — tip their spice —

And Bees — pick up —

A Hyacinth — I hid —

Puts out a ruffled head —

And odors fall —

From flasks — so small —

You wonder how they held —

You can read the rest of the poem here. (Of course, it holds deeper layers of interpretation!) You might also enjoy this discussion of garden imagery in Dickinson’s work, here.


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