The other day I read on a fellow amateur’s blog an ambitious, sincere account of how to make a woman find a man more than just attractive. Without consciously attempting a poem that dealt with this unlikely form of control, nevertheless, I smiled reading “He parts Himself — like Leaves — ”, by Emily Dickinson.

I know. I know. It’s about frost. Like Harold Pinter NYT… AP was only about pauses.


He parts Himself – like Leaves –
And then – He closes up –
Then stands opon the Bonnet
Of Any Buttercup –

And then He runs against
And oversets a Rose –
And then does Nothing –
Then away opon a Jib – He goes –

And dangles like a Mote
Suspended in the Noon –
Uncertain – to return Below –
Or settle in the Moon –

What come of Him at Night –
The privilege to say
Be limited by Ignorance –
What come of Him – That Day –

The Frost – possess the World –
In Cabinets – be shown –
A Sepulchre of quaintest Floss –
An Abbey – a Cocoon –

In stanza one, I’m to believe “He” is vulnerable — always a good technique in a blooming romance, “He parts Himself — like Leaves — ”. A tactic I’ve fallen for more than once. 

Then, faster than a man can jump when a diaper starts to leak, “And then — He closes up — ”. Oh! the speed of it all. He then, “stands opon (her) Bonnet / ”, metaphorically, of course, but, when falling in love, who bothers about metaphors.  After all, I’m not “… Any Buttercup — ”

In the second stanza, “surprise!” when it begins to look like a one-night-stand, “And then He runs…”. Enough said. But, this is poetry, so let’s twist the knife. While he’s running “And oversets a Rose — / And then does Nothing (OMG) — / Then away opon a Jib — He goes — ”

Predictably, the third stanza has our lover asking himself if he should stay or go: “And dangles like a Mote / Suspended in the Noon — / Uncertain — to return Below — / Or settle in the Moon — ”. Moon, the astrologers tell us, is about emotion. 

Every leading man knows to throw in a bit of mystery to keep her interested: “What come of Him at Night / … Be limited by Ignorance — ”. The poem doesn’t say if this is a happily-ever-after affair. I suppose it depends on whether the two concerned are balanced by or obsessed with the mystery, “The Frost — (that) possess the World —”.

The fourth stanza: Will they be for show, or, will they represent the burial site of potential love, or each other’s safe harbour, “An Abbey — a Cocoon — ”.

Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way