Emily Dickinson

When I was a kid living at home still, maybe 14 or so, I read an Emily Dickinson poem in one of my mom’s books. I liked the poem I guess, but it was strange at the same time. I read a few others and connected to them, but didn’t really understand what she was saying at the time. I guess I liked the idea of Dickinson held up in some room, staring out her window, writing, a recluse…

This poem (also known as number 465 in The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson) so far has always been my favorite.

I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm
For the last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –

With Blue – uncertain stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –

I received a book of her poems as a gift years later. I have read it many times, written in it, underlined, and lived with it. I get the poems more and more as I get older. Emily Dickinson is one of the few people that keeps poetry alive in me. That is why she is today’s heroine.

Happy Tuesday.