In like a Lion, Out like a Lamb

Readers of this blog will know I’m a life long Emily Dickinson fanatic and have studied and written about her for years.

In this messy business we call early spring, it seems I never fail to recollect her many poems on the month of March. The transitions in nature during this month fascinated her all her life. Her collected poems contain no less than six poems on March written many years apart. It was a subject she came back to again and again.

March is a difficult month, typically cold and wet in the first half of it, and only reluctantly and slowly bringing warmer temperatures and the rebirth of life in its last weeks. It’s a month of extremes and heralds the elision to spring, something we all anticipate wherever we are. It always seems to be a difficult birth.

Noting our wild temperature and weather variations in North Florida lately inspired me to share a few of these poems with you. Not her greatest poems, by a long shot, but apt and memorable.


March is the Month of Expectation.

The things we do not know —

The Persons of prognostication

Are coming now —

We try to show becoming firmness —

But pompous Joy

Betrays us, as his first Betrothal

Betrays a Boy.


We like March.

His shoes are Purple–

He is new and high–

Makes he Mud for Dog and Peddler,

Makes he Forests dry.

Knows the Adder Tongue his coming

And presents her Spot–

Stands the Sun so close and mighty

That our Minds are hot.

News is he of all the others–

Bold it were to die

With the Blue Birds buccaneering

On his British Sky.

As one who lives close to the natural world on a small farm next to a large woods, I can attest to her accuracy in these poems. Her mention of the adder is right on, too.  This time of year the snakes wake up, and having forgotten who lives where during their long winter sleep, often surprise me in my yard and even on my doorstep. Creeps! Watch where you step, Margaret.

About Margaret Jean Langstaff

A lifelong critical reader with literary tastes, a novelist, short story writer, essayist, book critic, and professional book editor for many years. A consultant to publishers and authors, providing manuscript critiques and a full range of editorial services. A friend and supporter of all other readers and writers. A collector of signed modern first editions. Animal lover and tree hugger. Follow me on Twitter @LangstaffEditor
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4 Responses to In like a Lion, Out like a Lamb

  1. SD Gates says:

    In my neck of the woods, March comes in like a fire-ant and goes out like a fire-breathing dragon. We go from warm to blazing hot in a matter of 31 days. AARGH!. Love the poems!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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