SPLIT the lark and you’ll find the music,
Bulb after bulb, in silver rolled,
Scantily dealt to the summer morning,
Saved for your ears when lutes be old.
Loose the flood, you shall find it patent,Emily Dickinson
Gush after gush, reserved for you;
Scarlet experiment! sceptic Thomas,
Now, do you doubt that your bird was true?
Continuing in the fashion of is-this-a-love-poem poems: is this a love poem? It seems more like an I-told-you-so poem. The speaker is telling an unnamed person that music can be found inside a lark, if you split it open. The music is described beautifully–“bulb after bulb, in silver rolled”–and it persists in memory even after the lark is gone. Consider, too, what happens if we unleash a flood: it does what floods do! It floods!
The speaker then closes with an address, referring to the unnamed as a “sceptic Thomas”–slightly off from the usual “doubting Thomas” that I’m used to hearing, but the meaning is the same. Thomas, who refused to believe that the risen Jesus was, in fact, the risen Jesus, until he could feel the wounds from the cross, inspires the narrator’s own doubter: where does the lark’s music really come from? What happens if I open this dam and let the water out?
The speaker in this poem is, I believe, the lark, but that’s a discussion for another day. What I find far more interesting is the idea of questioning how a thing works, and then destroying it to find its source: and, of course, losing the thing in the process.
For today’s prompt, consider some natural phenomenon that seems magical, and which you might be able to slice through to suss out its mysteries. What happens then? What do you learn, or keep, or not?