Yesterday, I reread Emily Dickison’s ‘Split the lark’:
SPLIT the lark and you’ll find the music,
Bulb after bulb, in silver rolled,
Scantily dealt to the summer morning,
Saved for your ear when lutes be old.
Loose the flood, you shall find it patent,
Gush after gush, reserved for you;
Scarlet experiment! Sceptic Thomas,
Now, do you doubt that your bird was true?
The poem is every bit as bloody as I remembered. I find the imagery of this poem disturbing and unlike Dickinson. Reading this poem, I imagine Thomas* as a small boy dissecting a bird to find the music hidden within. I wonder if Emily chose the word ‘sceptic’ instead of the usual ‘doubting’ to describe Thomas because it sounds and looks like ‘septic’ (I have very little evidence to support that speculation** other than her word choices – gushing, scarlet, loose the flood).
The poem is also a little disturbing (to me) because it almost required you to do what the poet is asking you not to go. The poem is about not taking something apart to understand it, but it must be taken apart to get to its nuances.
What reminded me of this poem was reading James Dasher’s The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials. *** SPOILER WARNING *** As I read this series, I wondered what compelled Thomas (yes, just like in the poem) and Theresa to knowingly subject themselves and the other children to the horrors of the maze and the scorch trails. Do they really hope to find a cure by undergoing experiences of horror and gruesome death and analyzing them (like the Thomas in the poem hoped to find the music in the dead bird’s body)?
Have you read the Maze Runner and Scorch Trials?
—– FOOTNOTES ——
* She is referring to the biblical story of Doubting Thomas.
** This could also be a reference to Thomas Moore who wrote a satiric piece called The Sceptic.
For more poetry, visit Poetry Friday hosted this week at A Year of Reading.