Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

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Days


Daughters of Time, the hypocritic Days,
Muffled and dumb like barefoot dervishes,
And marching single in an endless file,
Bring diadems and fagots in their hands.
To each they offer gifts after his will,
Bread, kingdom, stars, and sky that holds them all.

I, in my pleached garden, watched the pomp,
Forgot my morning wishes, hastily
Took a few herbs and apples, and the Day
Turned and departed silent. I, too late,
Under her solemn fillet saw the scorn.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Veteran Poet - 4,555 Points * Sunprincess * (12/30/2013 7:09:00 AM)

    dear poet when day offers you everything including the world, instead of just
    taking herbs and apples, you should have reached for the stars! (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 4,555 Points John Doe (1/24/2012 9:21:00 AM)

    I find that the givin author speaks in riddles of which i can not understand, when attempting to find one who can decipher this poem i am greeted by another bombardment of large and old timey words. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 4,555 Points Paul Brookes (12/30/2011 1:42:00 AM)

    I maybe think the fillet he is refering to is a band that is tied around the forehead and bound around the hair? (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 4,555 Points Michael Pruchnicki (12/30/2009 8:23:00 AM)

    Get the images of Emerson's 'Days' clear before launching off in some convoluted scheme based on misunderstanding the connotation and denotation of the words in the poem! Read closely and you will comprehend, I think! The daughters of Time who spin their hours are LIKE barefoot dervishes - note the simile - which is a Moslem religious order whose members practice whirling so as to induce a hypnotic state (though male, they wear skirts and conical hats) . Recall Coleridge's poem 'Kubla Khan' which should come to mind as you read 'Days' - that's what connote means, lads! Check out 'hypocycloid, ' which is exactly what dervishes do in geometrical terms - they roll around the inner circumference of another circle endlessly (it seems!) The last line refers to the headbands the daughters wear - each her own solemn fillet bound around her head! Diadems refer to the royal gifts each brings.

    The speaker laments that he filches a few herbs and apples and thereby earns the scorn of departing Day! All those riches offered - from bread to the stars and sky he has ignored. 'Could I revive within me /her symphony and song' Coleridge's speaker in 'Kubla Khan' agrres! (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 4,555 Points Joseph Poewhit (12/30/2009 6:45:00 AM)

    I could picture him in that garden with apples and herbs. Much more quiet time.[Dervishes - a new word-thanks Kevin for the Def. ] (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 4,555 Points Kevin Straw (12/30/2009 6:00:00 AM)

    Dervishes are religious men vowed to extreme poverty. Why are they “hypocritic”? Where would they get diadems from? There is a contradiction between the days like dervishes and the pomp in the first line of the second verse. If the days are like dervishes, why do they change their sex in the last line? Can anyone tell me whatEmerson means by “fillet”? I have looked up its meanings and find nothing that fits. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Ramesh T A (12/30/2009 1:59:00 AM)

    Nature is more than all the things kingdom can give; but we forget it in the mundane things of the world and waste our time! Message is wonderful! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Cathy Jackson (12/30/2004 11:54:00 AM)

    I love this piece, the way he illustrates the days 'daughters of time...marching single in an endless file...' the gifts each day brings '...Bread, kingdom, stars, and sky that holds them all.' and finally the scorn of the wasted/neglected day, and gifts not realized 'hastily took a few herbs and apples...'. Days is a truly awesome piece. (Report) Reply

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