A happy-go-lucky flower gets its head chopped off by the frost. The sun sees the whole thing from up above, but doesn't give a flip. Somewhere above, God watches it all thinking what a swell job he's done.
Oh Dickinson. You're really quite something.
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
Apparently with no surprise
To any happy Flower
The first thing we notice is that we've got a little personification going on, meaning that the poem is giving human traits to something nonhuman.
Have you ever met a flower that was happy? Maybe it looked happy because it was all bright and cheerful, but chances are you were doing a little personifying yourself. As far as we know, flowers don't have emotions, so they can't be happy. But don't feel bad for them; they can't be sad either. The next question becomes, then, what's the point of this personification?
Emily has used one of her favorite tricks and capitalized a word that's not a proper noun—"Flower." Often in Dickinson poems, we take that as a hint that the thing is supposed to symbolize something bigger.
But if it's not just a flower, what is it? And about what exactly is it not surprised?
Guess we'll have to wait till the next line to see. Oh, the anticipation.
Before we move on, though, we also notice some consonance with the repeated P sounds in both lines. Check out "Sound Check" for how this weaves through the whole poem.
The meter of the poem also sticks out to us here.
The first line is in what's called iambic tetrameter and the second is in iambic trimeter. When poems alternate between these two it can be called ballad meter.
Yes, yes, that was a lot of complicated meter jargon. Just click your way to"Form and Meter" for the full explanation.
The Frost beheads it at its play—
In accidental power—
Whoa, didn't see that one coming.
So the "happy Flower" is not surprised about getting beheaded by the "Frost." We guess that makes