VISTAS: An awareness of a range of time, events, or subjects. A broad Mental View.

I heard a Fly buzz - when I died

Emily Dickinson

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 the 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 --

In Dickinson's time, improvements in public health favored large families, but illness and death were all around. Dickinson, born in 1830, probably had more firsthand experience of death than most people born in 1930. Dickinson's fly has more tangible, terrifying reality than Melville's whale or Poe's raven. It is rendered in its full fly hood of things seen and heard, as well as with "Blue - uncertain stumbling Buzz."