Dickinson – S02E04 – The Daisy Follows Soft The Sun [Transcript]

After some time without news from Sam, Emily begins to suffer from writer's block. To rediscover her inspiration, she ventures into the landscape.
Dickinson - Season 2

Original release date: January 15, 2021


What’s the matter, dear?

I can’t write.

Oh, blimey. I never thought I’d hear ya say that.

Ever since I gave him one of my poems.

Gave who?

Mr. Bowles.

Two weeks ago, I submitted.

Oh, God, isn’t that an awful word?

“Submission.” Like he controls me.

Like he’s my master.

Some people get a kick out of that sort of thing.

Never mind. Why can’t you write then?

Because what’s the point of ever writing another poem if he rejects this one?

How do you know he’ll reject it?

Well, I don’t know.

I don’t know anything.

I don’t know when I’ll know.

God, my life is completely stuck.

This was a huge mistake.

I’m sure he just hasn’t read it yet.

He’s a busy man. He’ll get around to it.

Yeah, and by that time, I’ll have shriveled up and died.


Emily, what’s the matter?

I could hear your moaning from all the way upstairs.

I’m empty.

Dried up. Void.

A useless husk.

She’s got writer’s block.

Maggie, did you tell your brothers we needed another outhouse?

No, ma’am.

Then how on earth do you explain this hole?

I think this might be the work of our new young houseguests.

I saw the two of them yesterday hanging around the toolshed.

What? No, the girls couldn’t have dug this hole. It’s way too massive.

I don’t think you know what young girls are capable of.

Edward, we can’t have them living in our house anymore.

The Newman girls didn’t dig this hole.

Your sister and brother-in-law must’ve spoiled them rotten.

Well, they are from Brooklyn.

That’s no excuse.

I feel just like that kitten, stuck in a deep hole with no way out.

Why don’t you try writing a limerick?

Edward, we need to have a discussion.

No. Later, dear. I’m going birding.

No, this conversation cannot wait.

I am telling you, those girls are out of control.

They’ll burn our house down if we let them.

Yes. Well, then don’t let them.

Now, there’s a yellow-rumped warbler that needs my attention.

Well, I need your attention.

Dad, can I go birding with you?

I need to clear my head.

That’s a marvelous idea.

I thought the doctor told you you had to stay out of the sun.

No, doctor was a quack.

Come on. Let’s go.

Me brothers can get the cat out.

Poor thing. What’s that one’s name?

I believe that’s Drummydoodles.

Oh, no. He’s the biter.

Do you think my parents notice that you’re always in my room?

I don’t know. Should we be worried? Maybe we should stop.

No. It’s hot.


I love breaking the rules.


It’s not working.


Just give me a second.

It’s– Okay.


It’s, like, not doing anything.


Maybe that’s because we shouldn’t even be doing this.

What do you mean? You’re not enjoying yourself?

No, I am enjoying myself. I’m enjoying myself too much.

It shouldn’t be like this. It’s totally improper.



I’m trying to follow etiquette.

Do it the polite way.

But every time I try to give you a simple kiss on the hand, you try to push me back into bed.

I don’t know. Honestly, I’m starting to feel kinda used.

Excuse me?


And I hate it when women make me feel like this.

Like they just want me for my body.

What women?


Are you talking about Lola?

Oh, God.

Just the sound of her name brings back that greasy smell of circus paint, the crack of her horse whip, and the wicked thrusts of her…

Her what?

Of her spider dance.

Spider dance?

Oh, she wasn’t even a trained dancer. She didn’t even have skills.

Can you tell me more about the spider–

No. Okay, listen.

I just think that we are moving way too fast.

This isn’t why I came back here. This is New England, not the Wild West.

I can’t…

I can’t ever fall for a girl like Lola again.

I don’t have it in me.

That’s why I came here for you, Lavinia.

So you’re gonna be the mother of my children.

We’re not even engaged.

Oh, shit.

I have an idea.

Look up.

Vermilion flycatcher.

Blue jay. Over here.

Look over there. There he is.

Oh, yeah.

So, is this helping?

Helping what?

I mean, are you feeling better?


I still feel pretty bad.

Is it your vision again?

Yeah. Yeah, my creative vision.

Can’t see a thing.

I thought the poems were just coming and coming.

Yeah. Well, they stopped.

Wish there was something I could do, but…

I’ve never had a vision like yours.

There was a cardinal.

Well, there’s a fascinating bird.

Where? Which one?

Look, over here. Your brother.

Funny thing about bark is that…

Oh, hey. Dad.

Let me introduce you.

Who is this?

Father, this is the special guest of the Amherst Ornamental Tree Association,

Mr. Frederick Law Olmsted.


Dad, this is the man who is designing the great park in the center of New York City.

Mr. Olmsted, the park sounds amazing. I wonder what you’re going to call it.

I’m thinking “Central Park.”

Perfect. That’s perfect.

Well, it’s good. It’s not great.

Guess what else he’s designing?


The Amherst Town Common.


Get out of here.

Get out of here?

No, my good man. No. Rather, I must do the opposite.

I must get into here.

Watch this. This is his process.

See, I arrive in a place and I listen.

I do not speak to the place.

I let the place speak to me.

And what is the place saying?

I haven’t heard it yet. I barely had time.


We’ve actually been standing in this exact spot for an hour.

And what is an hour?

In the grand span of the universe, an hour is nothing.

No, we must throw away all clocks.

Nature has its own time.

Now, I must wander.

He’s one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.

Creative genius. Major coup for the Ornamental Tree Association.

I’m going with him.

Hey, wait. Emily, what are you doing?

I think this man can help me.

I thought I was helping you!

Mr. Olmsted.

I’m useless as a father.

Dad, don’t say that.

You raised three kids, and all of us are turning out just fine.

Oh. Come on.

You’re all just hanging by a thread.

Now we’ve got two new ones to take care of.

You mean the teens.


Yes, the Newman girls.

They’ve been misbehaving, and your mother is not pleased.

Well, I have an idea.

Oh, what?

I’ll adopt them.

What’s that?

I’d love to adopt them.

My heart goes out to them, honestly, and we have so much space.

We have that nursery upstairs.

The house feels so lonely sometimes.

You sure about this?

It’s the least I could do.

I mean, their inheritance is basically paying for our house.

Well, true, and it would be a great relief for your mother.

I would love nothing more. I’ll take them.

All right. Problem solved.


Now I just have to tell Sue.

And to me, making a park is like making a painting or a play or a poem.

A poem? Really?

Well, there’s absolutely no difference.

I’m an artist. A composer.

It’s just that my canvas is the land, and my verses are made of natural materials.

This rock, for example… is making exactly the right statement.

Oh, no!

What is it?

This rosebush is a disaster.

What’s the matter with this rosebush?

Answer me honestly.

Could you sit beside this rosebush with a sense of peace?


Maybe’s not good enough.

No. Bush will have to go.

Wait a minute. Wait. Let me just try it.

Tell me… could you sit beside this bush with a book and feel totally un-intruded upon by the world?

Could you feel yourself healing from the abuses of our deafening urban lives?

I’ll wait as long as you need.

Gotta be honest. It’s a no.

The bush goes.

So, what do you do when you don’t know what to do?

When I don’t know?


I wait.

How long?

That’s nice.

As long as it takes.

Months, years.

You must have so much patience.

I’m making art that’ll last for centuries.

Generations to come will enjoy my parks.

My parks could save democracy itself, so…

can’t rush that.

Do you ever get stuck?

No, I refuse to be stuck.

Look at that.

Oh, that is some of the finest Taxus baccata I’ve ever seen.

Taxus what?

These hedges.

But do they flow?

Do they unfurl effortlessly like the crest of the wave?

Do they make the heart sing?

America, land of the free, where all classes may mingle together as equals, as one.

Come on. Let’s go find out.


What the–

My God.

I’m in a hole.



God’s sake.


I’m in a hole!

Can you believe it?

Sam tells me he just went to a salon in Great Barrington where they had a lecture by a phrenologist.

Okay. So they felt his bumps.

Phrenologists are so in right now.

We need to step up our game.

I can’t be outdone by a salon in Western Massachusetts.

I know the hostess too.

There’s no way that that woman can even spell phrenologist.


There you are. I’ve got amazing news.

What is it?

Clara and Anna Newman, my adorable little cousins, they’re going to come and live with us. Here, at the Evergreens.

Isn’t that wonderful?

What are you talking about?

I’m talking about making a home for these poor children.

You can adopt cousins, can’t you?

Austin, you didn’t even ask me.

I don’t want them here.

But, Sue, they’ve got nowhere to go.

They’re orphans. Homeless.

Like you were before you became a Dickinson.

Just what I want.

Two living, breathing reminders of my terrible past.


have a heart.

Why do you want them here?


I want a child.


I want a child, and I promised you I would never ask you to have one.

Well, this is a chance for me to be a father to these girls and to keep my promise to you.

And I think you owe it to me to be excited about it.

Well, it sounds like you’ve made your mind up.

So, I guess it’s settled.

I suppose you’d better go make up the nursery.

Oh, bless this day




My name is Edward. I’m in a hole.






Is that you, dear?


You found me. Thank heavens.

You fell in the hole!

I know that. I’m in a hole. Come get me out, for God’s sake.

Well, help me out then, woman.

What are you doing? No.

Come on.

Okay, okay.

What have you done?

I’m sorry, but we’re having our discussion now, Edward, whether you like it or not.

Now is really not a good time.

Now is a perfect time. For once, you have no means of evading me.

No, I never evade you, Mother.

Edward, I swear, if you call me mother one more time, I will bury the two of us together in this hole.

My goodness. What’s the matter with you?

I would like to know what you’re planning on doing about the Newman girls.

They’ve been dealt with.

I spoke to Austin. He’s going to take them in.

He is?


You see, I am listening to you, even though it might seem like I’m not.

Well, I just need you to show it more.

This is about the cattle show, isn’t it?

I’m going to make that up to you.

It’s been three weeks, Edward.

I’ve been busy.

Well, I’m tired of you being busy.

Our children are all grown up now.

This is the time we’re supposed to rediscover the passionate days of our youth.

The days when it wasn’t just the cattle show.

It was Christmas and Easter too.

Do you remember how adventurous we used to be?

That time we conceived Lavinia in the middle of the day?

Or that time we put a new quilt on our bed and we pretended that we were in a hotel?

You looked beautiful on that quilt.

But why don’t we do that anymore?

Well, what can I say?

We got old.


I don’t remember these hedgerows being so tall.

Or so long.

I think we might have gotten lost.

Oh, good. Good. I was hoping we would.

You were?

Yeah. Getting lost is the whole point.

Don’t you like being lost?

I don’t know.

Lost is how I feel now when I sit down to write.

All I see is a blank piece of paper staring back at me.

Well, that doesn’t sound like being lost.

That sounds like being all too aware of yourself and the noisy world around you.

I’m talking about being so focused on something that you disappear into it.

You lose track of time and space, and people.

It’s just you and your flow. Surely you’ve experienced that?

I have.

But I don’t anymore.

Then you need to get lost. Totally lost.

Come on. Let’s go deeper.



Lola Montez.

My name is Lavinia, but you… can call me Lola.

Just call me Lola.

I do a spider dance–


Well, what do you think, babe?

You defaced my parents’ property.

I know.

I forgot that a girl needs to feel fully blindsided by a wild prank in order to commit to a marriage.

I literally thought I was being kidnapped.

So it worked.

And now you can’t possibly say no to me.

Well, not in front of all these people.

Say yes. Say yes.

How did you even get them all to do this?

I’m a businessman.

Okay. But I–



Okay! She said okay!

You’re gonna make me the happiest man alive.

Jane, do you miss your husband?


I guess we live here now.

Anna. Clara.

Welcome to the Evergreens.

Let me take your bags.

Are you hungry? What can I do to make you feel comfortable?

Anything you need, you just come to me.

Cool uncle, cousin, stepdad, buddy.

So, are we lost enough yet?

I don’t know. Do you feel like you can write again?


It’s an editor.

I gave my poem to him.

And now it’s like he holds my life in his hands.

Like I’m the daisy, and he’s the sun, and without the warmth of his approval, I can’t grow.

Well, that’s not good.

Opinion is a flitting thing.

It’s a hideous distraction from the beauty of your craft.

Okay. Then maybe I shouldn’t try to have an audience at all.

Maybe fame is… dangerous.

I mean, I gave one poem to one man and now I have writer’s block.

The audience is irrelevant.

The work itself is the gift, not the praise for it.

Understand that and you’ll understand true mastery.

You’re right.

I know you’re right, but how do I do it?

It’s simple.

Refuse to be the daisy, and start being the sun.

Hey, you hear that?

I’m not your daisy anymore.

Mr. Olmsted?

Hold steady.

Okay. Up and out, woman.

Stop yelling at me and hold steady.

I can’t see anything! My head is stuck under your dress!

Well, it’s about time.

What was that?

I’m almost there. Push.


Give me one good push.




Right. Em. Now give me a hand.

Where are you going?

Good talk, Edward.


Where are you going?


I am the sun.

I am the sun.

I am the sun.

Emily! There you are.

Mr. Olmsted, is that you?

Sam. My God.

Emily. I’ve been looking everywhere for you.

You have?

Sam. I was so scared.

It’s like my whole brain was taken over by one thought, whether or not you were going to like my poem.

You don’t have to be scared.

I have great news for you.

You do?

I read your poem.

And it’s brilliant.

It’s incredible.

And I’m going to publish it.

I’m going to publish you.

My little daisy.

What’s the matter?

You should be smiling.

I know.

It’s just I was so lost today.

Well, you don’t have to worry.

When you’re famous and the whole world can see you, you will never be able to get lost ever again.

No, look.

It’s a good thing Maggie has so many brothers or I never would’ve gotten out of that hole.

I’m sorry they came by so soon.

You could’ve used a few more hours in there, in my opinion.

Oh, look. It’s our better daughter.

The beautiful and betrothed Lavinia.

Are you guys actually okay with me marrying Ship?

He said you gave permission, but I’m not sure that he’s–

We absolutely gave our permission. We think he’s a fine fellow.

Don’t we, Edward?

He’s all right.

He’s simply dashing, Vinnie.

And that proposal. My goodness.

It’s so romantic.

I wish someone would’ve done something like that for me.

I gave you a perfectly nice proposal.

Yes, dear. You wrote me a letter analyzing the amount of butter I would need per month, and then you said, “I suggest you and I might make frugal and reasonable companions.”

See, people speak different languages of love, Lavinia.

I am so happy for you, Vinnie.

I really am.

And tomorrow morning we’ll sort through your handkerchiefs for your trousseau.

I don’t know if I wanna get married.

Lavinia. I have had a very hard day.

You are going to marry this man and that’s final. Good night.

These children will be the death of me.


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