A Route of Evanescence : by Emily Dickinson

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A Route of Evanescence

A Route of Evanescence
With a revolving Wheel-
A Resonance of Emerald
A Rush of Cochineal-

And every Blossom on the Bush
Adjusts its tumbled Head
The mail from Tunis, probably,
An easy Morning's Ride.

A Route of Evanescence With a revolving Wheel- A Resonance of Emerald A Rush of Cochineal-
A Route of Evanescence

Introduction and Development of Thought:

      Several critics have been interested in this poem as a possible revision of the earlier and not very accomplished 'Within my Garden, rides a Bird' 'A Route of Evanescence' is more purely descriptive than the snake and bird poems, but some readers have found philosophical elements in it. This poem defies exact explication; it becomes what it describes; a flash of colour and movement which exists for a moment and then disappears.

      The poem can be divided into three parts. The first four lines describe a hummingbird in flight. The first line presents a paradox-the route or path of the hummingbird is made of evanescence because the bird's speed denies its substantiality; bird and route have become identical. The swift, almost elusive, passage of the bird is suggested by the first line and, as it circles round the buds and blossoms, it gives the impression of a revolving wheel. In the second line, the bird's whirring wings are a revolving wheel, amore definite image and therefore easier for us to apprehend, even though the bird is still seen as a blur. The third line employs synesthesia - the description of one sense in terms of another. Here the enerald of the bird's back and wings is a resonating sound, probably to give a sense of vibration. The touch of the green in its wings and the humming sound it produces on its way, are merged into the third line. The red patch on its throat is seen as a splash of cochineal as the bird rushes and vanishes, leaving behind the umbled blossoms to testify to its existence. The fourth line is close to synesthesia representing the bird's ruby-coloured throat as 'rush of cochineal', a fusion of kinesis and sight.

      The fifth and sixth lines describe the bird's gathering nectar from the flowers n the blossom's own angle. The blossoms are personified, and we sense an fication between speaker and flower. The last two lines comment on the whole experience. The poet muses that the bird was like Tunis in North Africa, is roughly 8000 miles from New England. Amorning's ride from there would be incredibly swift. The poet thinks that the bird was like a postman bringing mail from distant Tunis on its everyday route-the route of evanescence. The poet is implying by such an accomplishment that the bird is completely at home in nature and quietly confident of its power. The closing lines fancifully suggest the bird's ability to speed easily from the remotest corner of the world.

Interpretation and Critical Analysis:

Power of Description:

      The poem has been rightly praised for its achievement in rendering the portrait of the bird. Details about the garden setting, the name of the bird and even a statement of the fact that it is indeed a bird being described are all omitted in this concentrated account of specific sensuous detail. Her most famous portrait is that of the hummingbird. Besides remaining a vivid response to nature, it also conveys her sense of nature's mystery and elusiveness.

Sound and Colour Imagery:

      The dominant impression of hummingbird is its tremendous speed that causes it to seeming appear and disappear simultaneously. Therefore, the language of motion controls the images in the poem. 'A Resonance of Emerald' suggests that the sound and sight merge in one fleeting sensation because the bird moves so fast. 'A Rush of Cochineal' stresses that even its brightest colour can be only fleetingly grasped. The images focus upon the bird's vanishing characteristics and its speed to present a synesthetic blur of color and motion.

Language:

      'A Route of Evanescence' shows Dickinson's ability to economise and to condense her diction and her imagery when she is writing at her best.

Nature of Poetry:

      Poetry is Dickinson's view is evanescent. What is represented on the page is far less than what should be represented. Therefore the resigns herself to the idea that 'All we secure of Beauty is its Evanescent'. Poetry, like life, is 'A Route of Evanescent' to Dickinson, a transitory realm where everything is processual and evades our grasp. The joy we fee at a moment of fulfill ment, however, is transitory and leaves behind a feeling of loss. The poet then endeavors to find a name or poetic language to render experience.

Explanation with Reference to Context:

A Route of Evanescence
With a revolving Wheel-
A Resonance of Emerald-
A Rush of Cochineal-

      This passage refers to the hummingbird in during the course of its flight. The hummingbird is described in terms of colour and rapid movement. It is imagined rather than actually seen as a vanishing, fading movement which we see as circular and revolving.

      The first four lines describe a humming bird in flight. The first line presents a paradox-the or path of the humming bird is made of evanescence because the bird's speed denies its substantiality; bird and route have become identical. In second line, the bird's whirring wings are a revolving wheel turning rapidly in circles. The quick movement of the hummingbird's wings produces the illusion of rapid circular movement. The third line shows the emerald of the bird's back and wings is a resonating sound, probably to give a sense of vibration. The colour emerald is made more vibrant in the bird's movement. The fourth line shows that the bird is observed in terms of a flash of emerald and cochineal i.e. a scarlet dye.

And every blossom on the Bush
Adjusts its tumbled Head-
The mail from Tunis, probably,
An easy Morning's Ride-

      This passage refers to the impact of the rapidly flying hummingbird on the h It suggests the route of its flight. The speed of the bird is presented in a comparative light. It helps in grasping the true identity of the bird in its special movement.

      The blossoms on a bush have been disturbed by the swiftly moving bird. The fifth and sixth lines describe the bird's gathering honey from the flowers. The blossoms are personified, and we sense an identification between speaker and flower. In the last two lines, the speaker comments on the whole experience. Perhaps the hummingbird was the mail coach from Tunis, from a long distance, it passed so rapidly and travelled the ground in no time. It possibly suggests that the bird is completely at home in nature and absolutely confident of its power.

Annotations:

      'Route' - a way which is travelled or the map of a journey, A fading line cates the passage of a humming-bird. 'Evanescence' - it means passing or Sappearing. The line represents the impossible: the map of a journey vanishes in ash. 'Revolving wheel' - constantly moving in circles. The rapid movement or the humming-bird's wings produces the illusion of quick circular movement. 'Resonance' - resonance is often associated with sound. It produces sympathetic vibrations. Here, however, we are asked to appreciate a deepening of visual rather than aural perception; the colour emerald is made more vibrant in the bird's movement. 'Emerald' - a highly expensive gem-stone. 'Rush' - a rapid movement, 'Cochineal' - a Scarlet dye. The bird is viewed in terms of a flash of emerald and cochineal. 'Blossom' - a flower or plant. 'Bush' - a low plant or bush. 'Adjusts' - controls, sets in its exact position. 'Tumbled' - fallen. 'Head' - top of the blossom. The image shows the sense that the speed of the bird's speed produced air-waves which disturbed the blossoms on the bush. This is how the passage of the bird is noticed. 'The mail' - it refers to the mail coach.

      In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the speediest form of public transport was byway of those coaches which brought mail, the post, from place to place. 'Tunis' - it is a city in northern Africa. 'Probably' - most likely. 'An easy Morning's Ride' - a distance which could be easily travelled by riding for one morning. The humming-bird's speedy journey is viewed as equivalent to that of a coach journey from some far distant place made so easily that it only took a morning to cover the distance.

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