I never expected to write about this particular poem because I covered it in my master's thesis, "Emily Dickinson: Parables in Poetry." That said, today I came across this poem again, and I found something in it that I had not realized before, something relating to the concept of parable and its function in this poem.
It bloomed and dropt, a Single Noon
The Flower-- distinct and Red--
I, passing, thought another Noon
Another in it's stead
Will equal glow, and thought no more
But came another Day
To find the Species disappeared--
The Same Locality--
The Sun in place-- no other fraud
On Nature's perfect Sum--
Had I but lingered Yesterday--
Was my retrieveless blame--
Much Flowers of this and further Zones
Have perished in my Hands
For seeking it's Resemblance--
But unapproached it stands--
The single Flower of the Earth
That I, in passing by
Unconscious was-- Great Nature's Face
Passed infinite by Me--
This poem laments the loss of a flower, one which is unique and can never be reproduced. And yet, the speaker in the poem reproduces this flower for the reader. The gone blossom is, ironically, never truly retrieveless. Through the recreation of the flower and the parallel creation of a thing of beauty (namely the poem itself), the speaker re-creates his or her own situation. In parable form, the reader has a choice in response. He or she can blithely read the words and think something like "oh, how sad that that person didn't see such a lovely flower. Too bad. Nice poem," and move on with life, failing to recognize the power of the poem. This sort of reader remains completely unware, largely lacking self-awareness.
Or, the astute reader can understand what the poet is doing, or at least understand it on a subconscious level. While he or she may not be completely aware that he or she is taking part in the poem, the words and the message of the poem. The reader can realize that we are surrounded by the everyday miracles-- moments which are unique and common but each special in its own way. Moments which can never be recreated, except in memory. Thus, the parable extends the experience beyond the page, beyond the encounter of the speaker. The audience who chooses to be open now joins the exeperience and journeys into his or her own unique encounter. This encounter is rare and yet, paradoxically, an everyday encounter. It is to be cherished and remembered, for the great face of nature passes by in every moment of our lives if we would only open our eyes to see.