A Light exists in Spring : Summary and Analysis

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A Light exists in Spring

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest
Tree Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.
Then as Horizon step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay-

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

A Light exists in Spring Not present on the Year At any other period When March is scarcely here
A Light exists in Spring

Introduction and Development of Thought:

      Stanza I is a great example of the means by which the poem can give us bodily proof that something exists. It involves reading things in the order in which they are given, and at the speed at which they are given. It is an incredible bodily action.

      Stanza II shows the dichotomy between Science and March. Science-March, naming-cannot overtake the sensation. The mind cannot get there, but human nature can feel it. It is further observed that we cannot have one without the other. The poet observes an exclusive colour standing all alone in a solitary field. She is unaware of the landscape which is drawn up of many walls, and fields, multiple places. It is like singleness standing in a singleness. It organizes itself within the square of that field and begins to stand there.

      Stanza III The colour is waiting to envelop the fields. It adds to the visibility of the natural setting. The tree standing far-off on the slope can now be clearly seen. It looks so realistic and lively. It seems almost in dialogue with the observer.

      Stanza IV draws our attention towards the horizon. The horizon, as light moves across the field, seems to move away from us, and noon, both the actual moment of encounter and the 'as if' moment 'reports' away. Noon is a here that cannot actually exist. Noon exists, in a real sense, only the second after it is passed : that was noon. Everything is measured in relation to it. The moment is a bullet passing its own moment. 'Without the formula of sound' points to the absence of sound.

      Stanza V shows the overtaking of science. It is the stanza in which overtaking is enacted. In it, everything is an abstract retelling of what has been sensorially enacted in the poem. It is a loss which has adversely affected our sense of satisfaction. 'Loss' is not bodily presented but can be, only be felt or conceptualized. Dickinson wants us to feel and undergo wna is to think now. It is a state in which we 'fall' into a thought.

Interpretation and Critical Analysis:

      'A Light exists in Spring' is perhaps Dickinson's best analysis that this season inspires. The poem deals with March, the pivot of the new year, when spring transforms the cold barren winter. Spring's hope is compared to a rarely glimpsed light which carries regal and religio associations to signify the psychological insights that occur at such a moment. Coming as an flux of grace, this illumination heightens man's emotional awareness of spring's mysteries and enlarges his poignant sense of estrangement. The light image of the first stanza, with its suggestion of purity and freshness, is enriched by these lines:

A color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake.

      Here the colour remains indefinite, standing regally aloof. The quality of this experience is neither rational nor pragmatic. Even science fails to comprehend it. In the final stanza the poet states the significance of the experience, stressing its religious value and the desolation that follows its departure:

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

      The moment's sacramental aspects, displaying God's grace and power, are now lost. Throughout the poem, motion and light images are constantly interwoven to suggest the longing and awe that light brings. Thus the physical experience of an early spring day is transformed into a moment of religious illumination.

Explanation with Reference to Context:

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period-
When march is scarcely here

A Colour stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

      A special light on the landscape during spring conveys a feeling of urgency and vitality, and its departure leaves the viewers with a sense of restive deprivation. The poet describes the elusive nature of the spring in this beautiful nature poem.

      The poetess feels that spring is known for its peculiar light which is never seen in any other season of the year. It cannot be called visionary light which can be witnessed by the mystics only. It is the light of the wider sunrise and deeper twilight which marks arrival of the spring season.

      The poetess further describes the apparent glow or coloration in the environment which shows the onset of the spring. She admits that the real nature of this light is very deceptive and cannot be scientifically explained. It is the colour hat cannot be visualized by scientific examination but can only be felt by those who are deeply involved in Nature. No rational explanation can satisfactorily explain its true nature.

It awaits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay-

      The poetess finds the light in Spring peculiar in its nature. This light is totally absent in other seasons of the year and is known for its freshness and purity. The quality of this experience is neither rational nor pragmatic. This mystical light envelops the fields and enhances their beauty and fascination.

      The light of spring is going to spread over the lawn. The field is reduced to a narrow lawn. The distant tree is now clearly seen with the improvement of visibility. The eye is drawn to the singleness of the tree. Even the distant slope is distinctly observed. It seems as if the light is almost seen talking to the observer. This shows e mystical nature of the light which spreads like the divine radiance. The light ays for sometime but finally disappears without making any sound, leaving behind the observer in a mood of mystical trance

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

      The observer has by now realized that the light seen by her is of a mystical origin. It lits up every object of Nature with the divine light. The mystical light finally disappears without making any disturbance or noise. The observer finde herself totally lost after having witnessed this unusual mystical phenomenon.

      The observer is shocked at the loss of this wonderful divine experience. She is dissatisfied because she is denied the enjoyment of this rare mystical sight. She feels utterly lonely after the abrupt loss of this religious experience. She comes back to the world of reality which underrates the religious values of life and is all focused on trade' which ensures material success in life. The moment's sacramental aspects, showing God's grace and authority, are all lost. The stanza ends on a note of religious ecstasy.

Annotations:

'In spring' - Spring is both a piece of a year, which is a spatial quality, but also a duration of year, a temporal unit.
'Not present on the Year' - there is nothing else that one can do with year' but makes it be a duration. It is made up of four seasons, and therefore four times bigger than 'spring'
'Here' - The 'here' constitutes the feet on which this entire tumbling lands. It is a moment that is concerned with being able to awaken in the reader. Or tha reader's capacity to summon.
'Overtake' - Mind cannot overcome heart in anyway. Mind can intellectualise but heart (feeling) can feel the object of observation. None can minimize the importance of the other.
'Solitary fields' - lonely field. It is the colour and not the surrounding objects like walls, fields and multiple places which dominates here.
'lawn' - the field is now reduced to a narrow field. The eye comes closer in, from field to lawn. It approaches the observer, It is standing there and waiting. The eye is drawn to the singleness of the tree.
'It almost speaks to you' - it is an extraordinary imaginative action because you are so yearning squintingly, leaning-out that you are almost speaking to it.
'Wait' - is a temporal activity. The minutes are clicking in 'wait. Expectation is embedded in it.
'Report' - noise of gunshot.
'Without the formula of sound' - it refers to the absence of sound. 'It almost speaks to you but does not' being its nature.
'Loss' - is an abstract term. It is the loss of one kind of sacramental encounter The sense of loss can now be felt.
'Sacrament' - means this, 'trade' means this.

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