To Hear an Oriole Sing

Orchard Oriole by John James Audubon, via Wikimedia Commons

A poem which is currently taped to the cupboard above the toaster oven. Has been for at least six months. I still haven’t managed to memorize it, but I’ve spent some time pondering it, at least.

To hear an Oriole sing
May be a common thing—
Or only a divine.

It is not of the Bird
Who sings the same, unheard,
As unto Crowd—

The Fashion of the Ear
Attireth that it hear
In Dun, or fair—

So whether it be Rune,
Or whether it be none
Is of within.

The “Tune is in the Tree—”
The Skeptic—showeth me—
“No Sir! In Thee!”

Emily Dickinson

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2 Responses to To Hear an Oriole Sing

  1. Melanie Bettinelli January 5, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

    I keep coming back to that word “only.” Why “only a divine”? It’s such an Emily sort of thing to say and I sort of intuitively get it but I still can’t put into words exactly what she’s getting at.


  1. Communication before Understanding - The Wine-Dark Sea - March 9, 2017

    […] still don’t know why Emily Dickinson uses the word “only” in her poem, To Hear an Oriole Sing. I still love the poem, though. Maybe I won’t ever figure it out. Maybe the wondering is the […]

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