Monday, October 24, 2005

I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died by Emily Dickenson

I HEARD a fly buzz when I died;
The stillness round my form
Was like the stillness in the air
Between the heaves of storm.

The eyes beside had wrung them dry,
And breaths were gathering sure
For that last onset, when the king
Be witnesses in his power.

I willed my keepsakes, signed away
What portions of me I
Could make assignable, -and then
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 found this poem to be both very weird and very interesting. It seems unusual to me to be choosing a fly as the last image that a person is to see when they die. Before the fly the motions that she goes through in describing death are normal the will and the signing away of possessions. Also the tears and the pause that is between them. I think that is was very clever of her to note that pause because though I had experienced it I had never stopped to notice it before. When the speaker of the poem is at last to die there is a fly that causes a pause in that moment of time. The last thing that that person saw and heard was a fly and I was wondering if Emily Dickenson meant for the fly to be symbolic of something, but I am not sure.


Blogger Sevanna Isanians said...

I also agree, this poem is strange yet also i think symbolic of life and its obsecurities. It is interesting to see how the speaker takes notice of a fly, which usually appears in the summer, yearly. It is an insect that most find to be innoying and often dirty. But the speaker takes notice of it because that is last time of this world that she will see, and that within itself is beauty.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Esther said...

I enjoy reading this poem because while it talks about something so common, it also relates it to something that is not that normal for it to be relating it to. When one thinks of death, it doesn't really relate to a fly. I like how the speaker uses onomotopoeias in order to create an effect throughout the poem. I think that the fly in the poem symbolizes how we take for granted the small things in life, such as flys. A fly seems sp insignificant in ones life, yet at the time of death, while on the death bed, it seems as if it is the seaker's world.

9:09 PM  

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