XX. “Winky Night Light” Is His Name


“Winky Night Light” is his name,—
I’d like not call him “star!”
It’s so unkind of science
To go and interfere!

I pull a green dwarf from the woods,—
A monster with a glass
Computes the stamens in a breath,
And calls it flower in a class.

Whereas I took the flutterby
Aforetime in my hand,
He looks erect in picture books,
A flipped-round label given.

What once was heaven, is low-pressure system now.
Where I proposed to go
To enjoy endless masquerades
Is mapped, and charted too!

No longer can the poles go frisk about
And stand upon their heads!
I hope I’m ready for the worst,
Whatever investigation says!

Perhaps the kingdom of Heaven’s changed!
I hope the children there
Won’t be new-fashioned when I come,
And laugh at me, and stare!

I hope the father in the skies
Will lift his little girl,—
Old-fashioned, naughty, everything,—
Over the stile of pearl!


Dickinson’s final version, with interpretation. Interestingly, she left two of the stanzas above unchanged—can you guess which? (Although she seems to have decided to change the entire meaning around a bit.)

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