That made me wonder which months’ names are included in Dickinson’s poetry. I knew of the poems “March is the month of expectation” and “There is a June when corn is cut,” but what about the other months? Are all of the months included in some way in Dickinson’s poetry?
Well, it turns out that ten of the months are, in fact, included in various poems, and two are not mentioned at all: September and December. The month that is named the most is June. June is referenced in twenty-one poems.
Here are the results for the ten months that are used:
A Few Notes:
* I looked through all of Dickinson's poems that used the word "march," and I attempted to find those that used the month "March" instead of some form of the verb "to march." Two of the poems, I think, can be interpreted in different ways. In the first line of the second stanza of "After all Birds have been investigated and laid aside," Dickinson wrote, "First at the March – competing with the Wind –" Is that March, the month? Similarly, in the first line of the second stanza of "Their barricades against the sky," Dickinson wrote, "What Russet Halts in Nature's March." So, depending upon how you interpret those two lines, the month of March is named in either 13, 14, or 15 poems by Dickinson.
** I also had to look through MANY poems that use the word "may" to determine if Dickinson used the verb "may" or the name of the month of May. There were 330 entries for "may" on the Dickinson archive representing 100 or so different poems. From what I could tell, the month "May" was used in 10 poems.
*** The word "November" is used in 3 poems; however, the archive noted that in an edition of Dickinson's poetry published in 1891, the poem "Besides the autumn poets sing" was titled "November." The poem does not use the word "November," so it is not included in the count.
Finally, I have to admit -- I was surprised that December was never used.
Okay, so what about the seasons? Are all four seasons represented -- by name -- in Dickinson's poetry? Which season is named most often? I'll have data on these questions posted soon -- and the results just may surprise you (and I don't mean the month of May).