Posts Tagged ‘explanation’

When I was small, a Woman died –
Today – her Only Boy
Went up from the Potomac –
His face all Victory 

To look at her – How slowly
The Seasons must have turned
Till Bullets clipt an Angle
And He passed quickly round – 

If pride shall be in Paradise –
Ourself cannot decide –
Of their imperial Conduct –
No person testified – 

But, proud in Apparition –
That Woman and her Boy
Pass back and forth, before my Brain
As even in the sky – 

I’m confident that Bravoes –
Perpetual break abroad
For Braveries, remote as this
In Scarlet Maryland –



Dickinson wrote of a mother who had died previously and left an only son who died in a battle on the Potomac River (stanza 1). To her, it must have seemed a long time before the bullet took his life (stanza 2).  Dickinson debated (stanza 3) whether it was right to have pride (which is sometimes sinful) in Paradise.  But as she considered, back and forth, the ghosts (Apparitions) of the two, she concluded that such bravoes (even there) for bravery in bloody (scarlet) Maryland were justified (stanza 4). The link below gives the specifics of a battle at Balls Bluff on the Potomac in October, 1861, as the time and place the “only boy” died.


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A Game of Cricket in Mumbai

A Game of Cricket (Photo credit: eviltomthai)

Vitay Lampada

There’s a breathless hush in the Close tonight –
   Ten to make and the match to win –
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
   An hour to play and the last man in.
And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
   Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
But his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote
   “Play up! play up! and play the game!” 

The sand of the desert is sodden red, –
   Red with the wreck of a square that broke; –
The Gatling’s jammed and the colonel dead,
   And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
   And England’s far, and Honor a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks,
   “Play up! play up! and play the game!” 

This is the word that year by year
   While in her place the School is set
Every one of her sons must hear,
   And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
   Bear through life like a torch in a flame,
And falling fling to the host behind –
   “Play up! play up! and play the game!”


 explanation: http://www.johnderbyshire.com/Readings/vitai.html

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