I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading - treading - till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through -

And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum -
Kept beating - beating - till I thought
My mind was going numb -

And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space - began to toll,

As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race,
Wrecked, solitary, here -

And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down -
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing - then -

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. 

  • Reprinted by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of Amherst College from The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Variorum Edition, Ralph W. Franklin, ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, © 1998 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. © 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

  • Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Variorum Edition (Harvard University Press, 1983)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"Even people who don't particularly enjoy most forms of poetry can still find a poem that they enjoy AND be very good at reciting if they set their minds to it. What makes poetry so appealing is its ability to describe all sorts of different aspects of the human experience in a new and unique light. There is a poem out there for everyone. Even my dad...maybe."
Danielle Corbett
2016 NH POL Champion