Sunday, November 20, 2011

Poem #465

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 that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –  

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portions 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 – 
 the poem "I heard a fly buzz when I  died" Dickinson employs a speaker 
from beyond the grave reflecting upon her deathbed experience. This poem
 only deals with death in the fact that the speaker is talking from 
beyond the grave. There are a few hints that tell the reader that the 
scene of death is the most important aspect of the poem. The first hint 
is that the poem takes place entirely, even in its metaphors, in the one
 room. The only exception is the imagined still air between “the Heaves 
of Storm.” Finally, the fly’s importance emphasizes this poems focus on 
the process of death. If the poem focused on the afterlife, faith, or 
the journey to eternity then the fly would be a minor character; but it 
is, instead, the only significant character besides the speaker in the 
poem! Its significance is so apparent that it actually comes between the
 speaker and “the light" thus representing death itself. This bug and 
its consequences ultimately represents the speaker’s inability to hold 
on to faith or hope in the face of death. 
 the poem the speaker begins to will away her possessions. Dickinson’s 
speaker is at first able to will away her objects, but she is suddenly 
hit with the idea that not all of her is “assignable.” The portion of 
her that she is not able to will away is assumed to be her spirit/soul. 
 Just as she has this thought, and is likely close to seeing “the light”
 she is interrupted by the fly. This fly stands between the speaker and 
the spiritual “light.” As this happens the “windows fail” and it is 
assumed that she has passed on to the afterlife

 the end my interpretation of this poem is that when people are close to
 death people tend to notice irrelevant and worldly things. Even in the 
face of death people are often distracted by the most minute details of 
the world around them

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