As I continue with my recent practice to draw from poems suggested by an Amherst friend for discussion of Emily Dickinson “winter poems,” I’d like to recognize her help, if inadvertent. For, “Winter is good” is among those Susan Snively has suggested for the January meeting of the Emily Dickinson Museum’s “Poetry Discussion Group” series. (Anyone in the area interested in participating can use the link to the museum on this post to inquire or for more information.)

“ — (H)is Hoar Delights” lifts, just barely, the overly general “Winter is good” from the mundane. “Hoar” might direct me to a venerable, even awesome, regard for winter’s qualities.

Winter is good — his Hoar Delights
Italic flavor yield
To Intellects inebriate
With Summer, or the World —

Generic as a Quarry
And hearty — as a Rose —
Invited with Asperity
But welcome when he goes.

Winter speaks the language of someone mute with suffering because its frost designates that Nature, like the style of type first used in Italy in which letters slope, bends under its icy burden; “Italic flavor yield”.

Ready or not, up goes down, eventually. Winter may be seen as the downswing in mood or the counterpoint “To Intellects inebriate / With summer,… ” as intoxicant, which, like “the World — ” may exhilarate greatly.

Echoing the first line’s common or scientific statement, winter’s “Generic as a Quarry” reiterates its balancing role. 

Did the cause of the hardship warrant the “welcome when it goes”.  Particularly, given the intensity and rigor with which I “Invited with Asperity” winter’s beginning?

Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way