I felt a Funeral, in my Brain (280)
by Emily Dickinson
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 –
I was never a fan of Emily Dickinson's. I never got her, to be honest. But I'm still reading that August 4, 2008 edition of the New Yorker -- the New Yorker is the only magazine I actually read cover-to-cover -- and I got to an article that reviewed a book about Emily Dickinson, and that actually spurred my interest in Emily a little, so I decided to post this poem today, because not only is it an Emily Dickinson poem but also you can hear it read here:
AND, after all that value, you also learn that "Funeral In My Brain" is one song of a three song medley by David Schwartz, a medley that appeared on the Northern Exposure soundtrack, and which you can listen to in its entirety by clicking this link.
My advice? Click the link, start the song, come back here and read the poem while the song plays. That'll give you the whole poetry experience, or at least as much Poetry Experience as you can get until somewhere, a Poetry-Based Theme Park opens with rides that have nothing to do with cartoon characters and everything to do with poems.
Imagine... a roller coaster based on "The Last Explanation of Prudence." I'm thrilled already.
Oh, and the poem? I'm pretty sure it's about Emily feeling she was going mad, and equating the loss of the ability to think and reason with actual death.