I’m enjoying a Master Class with the marvelous poet Billy Collins. He comes to me in my very own room.
Today I watched Collins and Marie Howe, another amazing poet, discuss a poem by Emily Dickinson, “I Felt a Funeral in My Brain”.
I’m sure I’ve read this poem before but I never took it in as I did today. I think I was more deeply affected because yesterday I read of the suicide of a 22 year old woman. She had been dealing with depression and the weight of it became too much.
Can a poem save a life? I want to believe so. Could this poem have helped her know that Emily Dickinson made it through, and she might too?
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 –
And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down –
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing – then –