Emily Dickinson | Poetry Foundation

Mr. Friedrich's argument is coherent and respectable, but I feel it tends to make Emilymore purely mystical than I sense her to be. I understand that fly to be the last kiss ofthe world, the last buzz from life. Certainly Emily's tremendous attachment to thephysical world, and her especial delight both in minute creatures for their own sake, andin minute actions for the sake of the dramatic implications that can be loaded into them,hardly needs to be documented. Any number of poems illustrate her delight in the specialsignificance of tiny living things. "Elysium is as Far" will do as a singleexample of her delight in packing a total-life significance into the slightest actions:

Emily dickinson i heard a fly buzz essay - Paraphrasing - Personal Statement Help

What we know of Emily Dickinson gives us assurance that just as she would abhor theblowfly she would abhor the deathbed scene. How devastatingly she disposes of theprojected one in the poem. "They talk of hallowed things and embarrass my dog"she writes in 1862 in a letter to Mr. Higginson (, 1958, II, 415).


Emily Dickinson - Poet | Academy of American Poets

Aug 31, 2014 · “I heard a Fly buzz -- when I died” is a poem by Emily Dickinson that focuses on the deathbed of the narrator

Repelled by the flowery abstractions recited by the Church, Dickinson created a form all her own: audacious, oblique and arresting in its breathless transference of thoughts to the page. She embraces the largest of themes and penetrates their core in a few exacting lines, describing in ‘I heard a Fly buzz—’, for instance, not the apprehension of death but the moment of dying. She wittily expresses her scepticism towards ‘faith’ versus her regard for science, and makes clear her belief in the primacy of the self. Exploring the vagaries of the human mind, she delivers emotional insights with a precision and candour remarkable even by modern standards.


SparkNotes: Dickinson’s Poetry: Study Questions & …

In an atmosphere of outward quiet and inner calm, the dying person collectedly proceedsto bequeath his or her worldly possessions, and while engaged in this activity of"willing," finds his attention withdrawn by a fly's buzzing. The fly isintroduced in intimate connection with "my keepsakes" and "what portion ofme be assignable"; it follows—and is the culmination of—the dying person'spreoccupation with cherished material things no longer of use to the departing owner. Inthe face of death, and even more of a possible spiritual life beyond death, one's concernwith a few earthly belongings is but a triviality, and indeed a distraction from amomentous issue. The obtrusiveness of the inferior, physical aspects of existence, and thebusybody activity associated with them, is poignantly illustrated by the interveninginsect (cf. the line "Buzz the dull flies on the chamber window," in the poembeginning "How many times these low feet staggered"). Even so small ademonstrative, demonstrable creature is sufficient to separate the dying person from"the light," i.e. to blur the vision, to short-circuit mental concentration, sothat spiritual awareness is lost. The last line of the poem may then be paraphrased toread: "Waylaid by irrelevant, tangible, finite objects of little importance, I was nolonger capable of that deeper perception which would clearly reveal to me the infinitespiritual reality." As Emily Dickinson herself expressed it, in another Second Seriespoem beginning "Their height in heaven comforts not":

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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 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 --