In the poem “These are the days when birds come back…,” Dickinson’s subject is breaking the bread and drinking the wine, which signifies the Lord’s Supper. The speaker’s attitude towards the subject is that the Lord’s Supper denotes the efficacy of the words of Jesus Christ while the actions indicate the actions taken by the Holy Spirit. Dickinson characterizes her speaker as someone who is ordained by the church, preferably the Catholic Church, to act in the persona of Christ. The persona has the authority to administer the Holy Communion to the church’s lay members when the celebration of mass takes place.
tailored to your instructions
for only $13.00 $11.05/page
The speaker’s desire in the poem is the consecrated bread of God, which is signified by the body of Christ, and the immortal wine, which is a representation of the blood of Christ. By partaking in the Eucharist, the speaker achieves their desires (Levine 87). The consequences of receiving the consecrated bread and the immortal wine are the spiritual nourishment that keeps the flame of the sanctifying grace burning bright. The sanctifying grace unites the partaker of the bread and the wine to Jesus and the church, Jesus’ body (Levine 87). The keywords that help us understand the poem are “Thy sacred emblems to partake – Thy consecrated bread to take And thine immortal wine.”
Dickinson uses the words to represent the act of taking in the body and blood of Jesus, and no words would have multiple meanings. From the poem, the consecrated bread means the body of Jesus while thine immortal wine implies the blood of Jesus. Through the bread and the wine, Dickinson shows the speaker as one who believes that partaking of the two signifies partaking of the body and blood of Christ (Levine 87). In other words, Dickinson uses the consecrated bread and the immortal wine to mean the body and the blood of Christ.
Levine, Robert S. The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Volume Ii. , 2017.