Daisies, Blood and Death: On Emily Dickinson’s "So has a Daisy vanished…"

So has a Daisy vanished…
Emily Dickinson

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?

Commentary:

The daisy vanishes by moving into the ground; the slipper tiptoes across; “day’s departing tide,” of course, is an upward motion —

Or is it? The questions with this poem begin in earnest with the second stanza. “Day’s departing tide” sounds a lot like us bleeding, and since we’re all going to die, the implication of “crimson bubbles” oozing in a “tide” is that the entire world, despite its ephemeral particulars, is blood. Further, “tide” is not an upward motion unless “day’s departing” is added as a predicate. The tide moves much like we do, horizontally. It may reach upward, but it doesn’t dissolve into heaven completely.

We reach the third line of that second stanza and we find one word editorials on what has transpired in the rest of the poem. The opposite of the flower vanishing – the reason why it was noticed – is that it bloomed. “Tripping” is more accurate in terms of describing how we move through life: we don’t exactly “tiptoe.”

Well, perhaps when all is said and done, perhaps from a cosmic view, we move quietly from life into death. But from another point of view, we bleed. The moments of pain are/were/will be real. Those moments are not quiet. For some of us, they might be worse than death.

The fact we die so quietly in the grand scheme of things is a truth that is a lie – it covers up all the things that make human existence both difficult and meaningful. It covers up our blossoming.

And so one wonders about the “flowing,” when all is said and done. What does it mean to be with God – what does God do that affirms our life? When do we blossom, and why?

You might want to note the parallel between “field” and “Paradise.” Combined with the emphasis on motion, where is Paradise?

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