The tone of ‘Some Rainbow – coming from the Fair!’ is optimistic and celebratory while the mood is uplifting and revitalizing. Dickinson sought to depict spring originally and accurately while also recreating the experience of seeing it bloom in person.
Explore Some Rainbow – coming from the Fair!
The poem takes the reader through a series of images that trigger all human senses. She speaks on the bees, birds, flowers, and trees. All of these return with full strength like an army. But, unlike an army, there is no clear commander. The force that unifies them all goes unseen.
‘Some Rainbow – coming from the Fair!’ by Emily Dickinson is a four stanza poem that is divided into sets of six lines, known as sestets. These sestets follow a loose rhyme scheme of AABCCD although there are exceptions to that pattern. For instance, there are a few moments in which Dickinson makes use of half-rhyme, rather than full-rhyme, at the ends of lines.
Half-rhyme, also known as slant or partial rhyme, is seen through the repetition of assonance or consonance. This means that either a vowel or consonant sound is reused within one line, or multiple lines of verse. For example, “Fair” and “Cashmere” at the ends of lines one and two of the first stanza and “on” and “Sun” at the ends of lines four and five of the third stanza.
At other moments Dickinson creates rhyme that stands out against that pattern. This can be seen in the last stanza where “stand,” at the end of the third line, and “Land” at the end of the sixth line, rhyme.
Dickinson’s Dashes and Capitalization
Scholars are divided over what this intermittent punctuation could mean. But in this case, the dashes are easily read as moments in which the speaker was overwhelmed or thinking hard before proceeding. The pauses represent a desire to create drama and tension in the text. It is also a way for the reader, speaker, and even Dickinson herself, to gather thoughts together before moving on to the next line.
One should also consider the use of capitalization in these lines. This is another technique that Dickinson is known for, and which causes confusion among students and scholars alike. There is no single definitive reason why Dickinson capitalized the words she did. Often, the words she chose were the most prominent of the lines, the ones that were the most evocative and meaningful. This appears to be the case in ‘Some Rainbow – coming from the Fair!’ as well.
Dickinson makes use of several poetic techniques in ‘Some Rainbow – coming from the Fair!’ These include but are not limited to alliteration, enjambment, caesura, metaphor, and simile. The first, alliteration, occurs when words are used in succession, or at least appear close together, and begin with the same sound. For example, “snow stood” in line two of the third stanza and “Feather,” “feather,” and “Fritters” in lines five and six of the first stanza.
Another important technique commonly used in poetry is enjambment. It occurs when a line is cut off before its natural stopping point. Enjambment forces a reader down to the next line, and the next, quickly. One has to move forward in order to comfortably resolve a phrase or sentence. For instance, the transition between lines four and five of the first stanza and lines two and three of the fourth stanza.
Caesura occurs when a line is split in half, sometimes with punctuation, sometimes not. The use of punctuation in these moments creates a very intentional pause in the text. A reader should consider how the pause influences the rhythm of one’s reading and how it might proceed with an important turn or transition in the text. For example, line five of the second stanza: “Baronial Bees – march – one by one”.
A metaphor is a comparison between two unlike things that does not use “like” or “as” is also present in the text. When using this technique a poet is saying that one thing is another thing, they aren’t just similar. These can be seen through the initial comparisons between spring and “the Fair,” “the World Cashmere,” and “a Peacock’s purple Train”.
A simile is a comparison between two unlike things that uses the words “like” or “as”. A poet uses this kind of figurative language to say that one thing is similar to another, not like metaphor, that it “is” another. For example, lines one and two of the third stanza. They read: “The Robins stand as thick today / As flakes of snow stood yesterday”.
Some Rainbow – coming from the Fair!
Some Vision of the World Cashmere –
I confidently see!
Or else a Peacock’s purple Train
Feather by feather – on the plain
Fritters itself away!
In the first stanza of ‘Some Rainbow—coming from the Fair!’ The speaker begins by making use of the line that later came to be used as the title. Dickinson is celebrating the arrival of spring. It comes, as a rainbow of colour. There are various sights, sounds, and events one can expect and then get excited over as if it’s a fair. She speaks of “the World Cashmere”. This is likely a reference to a beautiful mountain region that is known as Kashmir today.
She also compares the season to the colours of a peacock, and its disposition. It “Fritters itself away” on the plain without a care in the world.
The dreamy Butterflies bestir!
Lethargic pools resume the whir
Of last year’s sundered tune!
From some old Fortress on the sun
Baronial Bees – march – one by one –
In murmuring platoon!
In the second stanza of ‘Some Rainbow—coming from the Fair!’, she speaks on the return of butterflies to the woods after winter is over. They “resume the whir / Of last year’s sundered tune!” This brings in the idea of music and how peaceful and uplifting the scene would be. The poet also speaks of “Baronial bees,” which like soldiers in a platoon, march out to begin their pollination of flowers.
The Robins stand as thick today
As flakes of snow stood yesterday –
On fence – and Roof – and Twig!
The Orchis binds her feather on
For her old lover – Don the Sun!
Revisiting the Bog!
In the third stanza, she brings in the image of “The Robins”. The stanza “thick” against the natural background just as “snow stood yesterday”. They are as important a feature of the land in spring as snow is in winter. If one cares to look, they can be seen everywhere.
An observer would also so the orchid who is blooming brightly, showing off for the sun which is for the first time that year visiting the “Bog”. These are great examples of personification. Or, what occurs when a poet imbues a non-human creature or object with human characteristics.
Without Commander! Countless! Still!
The Regiments of Wood and Hill
In bright detachment stand!
Behold! Whose Multitudes are these?
The children of whose turbaned seas –
Or what Circassian Land?
In the final stanza of ‘Some Rainbow—coming from the Fair!’, Dickinson makes use of a few more allusions and interesting images. There is a chain of command, but it appears as though the world is Without Commander!” The troops are countless and reach through the woods and hills. The last few lines of the poem are structured as questions.
They ask the reader to consider “Whose Multitudes are these”. Without giving anything away specifically she refers to a “Circassian land,” or a region in central Europe near Georgia and the Black Sea” and to the “turbaned seas”. This is unlikely a real sea, but a sea of flowers and plants that spread out across the landscape.