Monday, March 24, 2008


An altered look about the hills;
A Tyrian* light the village fills;
A wider sunrise in the dawn;
A deeper twilight on the lawn;**
. . .An added strut in chanticleer***;
A flower expected everywhere;
An axe singing in the wood;
Fern-odors on untraveled roads,
---All this, and more I cannot tell,
A furtive look you know as well,
And Nicodemus' mystery
Receives its annual reply.****
---Emily Dickinson, Book III [Nature], #49
*Tyrian Purple, a rich crimson or purple dye made in the ancient city of Tyre
**Spring changes the angle of light & the look of light, esp. at sunrise and sunset. The first part of the poem celebrates purplish April dawn & dusk hues.
***A rooster. Originally an older Middle English word coming from Old French, now used in poetic verse
****John 3:4. Nicodemus asks Jesus how a man can be "born again." In John 3:13-16, Jesus makes clear that rebirth and the accompanying eternal life come through Him being "lifted up" (crucified), which, itself, came from the Father's great love in sending Jesus.


Joyce said...

Great poem! I love Emily Dickinson, but I hadn't ever reaad that one.

C. Marie Byars said...

Thanks for visiting & Happy Easter! Emily wrote some great stuff, even if she did get a little "loopy" from extreme introversion!

Julana said...

That's a great poem. I don't remember it from my college Am Lit days. I'll have to look it up, when I get a minute.

Hope your Easter was a good one. We're ready for spring here!

Jim Swindle said...

I just discovered your blog, from your comment on the Cost of Discipleship blog.

My parents taught me to love poetry, and my mother taught me to love nature poetry.

You may want to check out some of the Christian nature poems I've written, posted at
That blog also has lots of Christian poems on topics other than nature.

David Weller said...

I LOVE Emily Dickinson; I have a book of her letters I still need to read.... the Bible is full of analogies to nature, and of course it is a classic reference in Christian poetry.

Thanks for sharing these.. for my own Christian poetry, please check out my blog and see my poem "Easter"! Thanks, David

C. Marie Byars said...

This is great: a run on "Emily"!! Anyway, I work best, in my own devotional life, on the analogies from nature. For me it's a Romans 8 thing: I see the glories left over from Eden & promised in heaven plus concrete reminders of the effects of sin in "nature's groaning." (When I was getting my formal education, tying nature together too much with the faith was frowned on--like you were just going to get into a "theology of glory" & ignore the theology of the cross or that you were going to end up Thoreau-like, looking at the world through rose-colored nature glasses & not grappling seriously with evil & etc. Well, "phooey" on that, to use a non-scholarly phrase!!!)

Joyce said...

Amen, Marie! God reveals himself to me daily in nature, and it just makes me more cognizant of his omnipotence. And honestly, I get tired of the people who think if you enjoy nature or care about the environment you must be tied-dyed hippie. If they only knew me!

violet said...

Beautiful Dickinson poem - and the 'Cole's notes' are a nice touch.

Also, thanks so much, C. Marie, for putting up a link to Line-Upon-Line (and Bible Drive-thru - now that was a lovely surprise!). Bless you!

C. Marie Byars said...

Thanks, Violet! Actually, though, the notes weren't "Cole" notes---they came from my own little gray matter that I try to use once in awhile! (And a little "Webster Collegiate Dictionary action when an archaic word is a little too obtuse!)

Julana said...

Thank you for linking my blog, Marie. I've had a long hiatus, but am thinking about starting again. It's an effort to keep one's mind connected to the "real" world sometimes, if one blogs too much.

C. Marie Byars said...

This is true. I go through active spurts on the computer & then don't for awhile. A certain "movement" within my denomination has this hard core group seemingly always lost in the blogosphere. While they get really concerned about "purity", their churches shrink to almost nothing. It's sad. I've got way too much going on outside the electrons to make this my life. But it's a fun outlet every so often!