I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
by Emily Dickinson
Dickinson works hard and fast to give us a sense of what the atmosphere is like in this room. She wants to build up a sense of how quiet, calm, and maybe stifling it is around this deathbed. Maybe we haven’t all experienced a death, so she compares the situation to another one that we might be more familiar with.
- Line 4: Dickinson uses a simile to compare the air in the room with the feeling of the air during a lull in a storm. It’s a pretty great image, actually. Have you ever felt that moment during a storm when suddenly things get weirdly quiet? Maybe the air is wet and heavy, but the rain is gone for a moment. Here the storm is emotional and personal, and we know more is coming. When we arrive on the scene in this poem, though, we are at a point of spooky quiet, when everything stands still for a moment.