I heard a Fly buzz – when I died
By Emily Dickinson

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 –

I’m reading The Portable Beat Reader, edited by Ann Charters ©1992, and it says the poem above was Allen Ginsberg’s favorite. This poem is credited as the reason he used dashes instead of more conventional punctuation in his poem Kaddish.

All of Emily Dickinson’s works are in the public domain and may be downloaded from Project Gutenberg, HERE. (None of Allen Ginsberg’s work is in the public domain, but I don’t think you’ll have to search too hard to find them.)

1 Comment

  1. markonit

    …again, my thanks for the encouragement, friend..! This is a poem that I would love to talk about in person with… I would love to be enlightened as it woke up so much in me that my insides are glittering with dreams..!


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