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H bMS Am 1118.95, Box 9

Dated 1884. Ink, on plain stationery, folded into two leaves. Writing on first, third, and fourth pages. Fair copy of a lyric love poem in six irregular stanzas; the poem shifts from even rhyme in the first two stanzas to alternating rhyme in the last two, which may or may not suggest a private experimentation. A loose iambic trimeter is maintained throughout, consistent with other poems (Hyssop, Irony). Susan occasionally reorders syntax for musical and emphatic effect, as in "so low and tender sung / it charmed my very soul," echoing Emily's similar practice.

Emily's blue jay poem of the period sent to Susan, "No Brigadier / throughout the / Year" (H 294; P 1561), and the similarity of the poem with note to "Hyssop" argue for this being part of Emily and Susan's writing workshop. In any case, this poem is yet another witness to Susan's love for nature, a passion she shared with Emily. As Emily's corpus affirms countless times, the poet shared Susan's admiration for the song bird and its symbolic and inspirational significance. A number of these poems are sent to Susan, many of which affirm an intense and complicated tie, including "I have a Bird in spring" (P 5) and the poem Susan chose to conclude Emily's obituary notice, "Morns like these - we parted - " (version 4, P 27).

Both the poem and the attached note are important documents in the corpus that remains of Susan's poems. "Lizzie," referred to in Susan's note, could be a nickname for Emily. Because most of Susan's correspondence to Emily has been destroyed, we have lost records of many of the nicknames Susan may have used for her beloved friend. "Lizzie" may well have been one of them, since Emily's middle name was "Elizabeth," which Susan emphasized in her original draft (version1) and revision of Emily's obituary (version 3). The familiarity and informality of the note, its intimate knowledge that "Lizzie" would be pleased by the blue-jay's "low loving notes," argue for Emily as addressee. To see how Susan shapes her "z," one can compare the shapes of the letters in "Lizzie" here to the same letters in "fuzz" and "buzz" in "Of June and her belongings."

Equally as important is the long-time mutual influence and support this letter-poem witnesses. Dated July 1884, a little less than two years before Emily's death on May 15, 1886, this writing gestures at the countless other lost correspondence from Susan that predate it and which most certainly contain other references to their complicated and important relationship, their literary endeavors and influences. These records of transmission and collaboration were likely destroyed by Lavinia when she, acting according to custom, disposed of all correspondence that Emily had received after her sister's death.