Category Archives: Smith, Charles

So has a Daisy vanished

Sheep in Landscape, 19th century, Charles Smith
Background Image: Sheep in Landscape, 19th century, Charles Smith

This poems immediately follows “Morns like these – we parted” which is about seeing someone pass away, thus this poem feels like a eulogy for that person, but not the kind a person would give at a public service, but what a person might think in private when they are dealing with their grief.

The first word of the poem is “So”, a word which denotes the logical progression of a consequence, but it also has the effect of finality, such as a sentence like ‘so something has finally come to pass’. The word also has the effect of making the noun in the sentence, “Daisy” feel small. What I mean is that one “Daisy” going missing “From the fields today” will probably not be missed in the grand scheme of things because it’s just one flower. I believe this is further enforced by the final line of the poem where Emily asks if her “Daisy” is “with God” in that Emily is not sure if God notices, cares, or perhaps even exists. In fact the question which rets at the bottom of this poem, “Are ye then with God” could be Emily asking herself this question as much as she is asking her “Daisy” is her spirit is in heaven.

And because Emily usually relates people and spirits with flowers and thus she believes in the contentedness of our lives with the natural world, the one thing Emily does seem certain of is that her “Daisy” has returned to nature in some spiritual sense. For example, the “Daisy” “tiptoed” in its “slipper” (a play on a lady slipper) “To Paradise”, and it also “Oozed so” among the “crimson bubbles” of the “Day’s departing tide” (sunset; when life ends at the end of the day). This “Daisy” is part of the cosmic cycle of nature from which all things come and which they all must return again.

And this cycle seems to be alluded to with the line “Blooming – tripping – flowing” in that at birth we bloom, in death we trip, but after death we flow into the stream of nature with all the other living things who have seemed to have “vanished” but are just now reincorporated in a new form, such as a sunset.

The word “tripping” does really stick out in this poem, especially because earlier she describes the act of tiptoeing in slippers to paradise, an image that recalls grace and elegance, not someone tripping. Perhaps then “tripping” is not death, but it the act of living and all the mistakes and errors and problems we run into. Life is a struggle and a labor and things do not always go smoothly for us as individuals, yet on the cosmic scale of things, it is only one aspect of the cycle of life between our “blooming” and our “flowing” like angels among the crimson clouds during the setting sun.