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 -

Notes:

Note to POL students: The inclusion or omission of the numeral in the title of the poem should not affect the accuracy score. It is optional during recitation. 

  • Emily Dickinson, “I Heard a Fly buzz—when I died” from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas H. Johnson. Copyright 1945, 1951, ©1955, 1979, 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Reprinted with the permission of The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

  • Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson Edited by R. W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"I learned just how much deeper your understanding of a poem is when you memorize it than when you just read it a couple of times, and how you understand it a little better every single time you recite it."
Alex Hanesworth
2015 WA POL Champion