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I felt a Funeral, in my Brain, by Emily Dickinson


"I felt a Funeral, in my Brain," is a poem about how Dickinson felt beaten down by other people and other things going on in her life. She states that "With those same boots of lead, again. / Then space began to toll" which means she doesn't know how much more she can take.

This poem consists of four stanzas with four lines each. This poem switches up the meters more than usual for Dickinson. Not only does she not use iambic-quadrameter, she doesn't stick with eight syllables in the first and third lines at all. She switches between nine and seven while keeping the second and fourth lines at iambic-triameter. As well, instead of using an imperfect rhyme scheme, she uses perfect rhymes for the second and fourth lines.

Johnson number: 280


I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,

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.

Next: I heard a Fly buzz - when I died
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Literary Movement
19th Century

Life, Sadness

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