Poetry Sunday: As imperceptibly as grief by Emily Dickinson

Summer is beginning to wind down although we still have several more weeks of potential triple-digit temperatures here in Southeast Texas. But already I can feel a difference in the air when I sit outside on my patio in the late afternoon. Moreover twilight creeps in earlier and earlier every day. The days are getting shorter, the surest indication that autumn is, in fact, on its way.

Emily Dickinson observed that summer passes into fall with "A courteous, yet harrowing grace" which is almost imperceptible at first. As imperceptible as grief. 

As Imperceptibly as Grief

by Emily Dickinson

As imperceptibly as grief
  The summer lapsed away, —
  Too imperceptible, at last,
  To seem like perfidy.

  A quietness distilled,
  As twilight long begun,
  Or Nature, spending with herself
  Sequestered afternoon.

  The dusk drew earlier in,
  The morning foreign shone, —
  A courteous, yet harrowing grace,
  As guest who would be gone.

  And thus, without a wing,
  Or service of a keel,
  Our summer made her light escape
  Into the beautiful.


  1. A wonderful description of the fleeting nature of summer.

    1. Isn't it though? Emily definitely had a way with words.

  2. Emily Dickinson expresses how I feel about summer, too. Alas, it is slipping away.

    1. Where Emily lived and where you live it is well on its way out the door by late August. Around here we still have several more weeks to "enjoy" it.

  3. She really had a way with words. This poem is amazing.

  4. Lovely poem. Summer moves so slowly into fall that any grief of summer passing is imperceptible.

    1. The changing of the seasons is slow process here, with "summer" often lingering into October.

  5. Our summers here tend to begin earlier and outlast the summers of others I know, and I'm glad. It suits me.

    Lovely poem.

    1. I can enjoy summer as long as the high temperatures don't exceed the mid-nineties. Higher than that, it becomes really uncomfortable. Of course, it's not really the heat, it's that darned humidity!

  6. Lovely poem! And such great imagery.


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