I Felt a Funeral in my Brain

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain

by Emily Dickinson

Dickinson copy

Emily Dickinson takes us on a trip through our own funeral. To that last moment when there is nothing left to know. Nothing to participate in. nothing to share. Nothing to feel. It is finally over.

It is that moment with which we all are familiar. It is a moment we all know will come to pass. Will we feel, as Emily suggests, the drop down and down…and finish knowing?

Some may in their hearts seek this joy. The joy that will leave pain behind. A joy that replaces insecurity, inadequacy, anxiety, depression and defeat.

Some may in their hearts not care about that last moment. There is no joy, no sorrow, and no loss. There is no feeling, too. Nothing of value to miss. The drop down and down to finish knowing is not a step away from before.

When some may feel that funeral in their brain, they bring great anticipation of release into a believed existence far away, that upon finished knowing, move through that moment to paradise unknown.

Some may, in the service of others, have arrived by fire or bullet or starvation or oppression in behalf of those unknown, will they have regret? To those still knowing, the vanquished that drop down have great meaning. To the one that drops down and down, do they wonder the worth?

Perhaps as we feel the funeral in our brain, we look back at what is still knowing, still not finished. As we drop down, we become free of the bonds that held us. Do we see, at that moment, what life ought to be? Is our last knowing of the living finally filled with divine insight and understanding? Is Grace upon us as we finish knowing?

We will be missed by those who love us, who knew us, who knew our place in the world. That, too, will drop down, down and finish knowing beyond our own. It is then that we entirely pass from knowing and being known – then an ancient stone or an urn unknown or ashes cast back to the earth and never known.

To those of us waiting our turn at the funeral, are there things that must be done? Are there rights to be righted? What prepares you for the trip down, down and to finish knowing?

Ancient Mariner

2 thoughts on “I Felt a Funeral in my Brain

  1. I was reading through an old book of poetry when I came across Emily Dickinson’s poem, “I felt a Funeral in my Brain.” I remember this poem from my teen years – those years when emotional insight is still free to soar. Dickinson, in my experience, really isolates that moment not only when you die but the last interaction with anyone, dead or alive. When the box hits the bottom and the dirt fills in above, it is quite the final moment of interaction with fellow human beings.
    After that, one can only guess. She ends the poem beautifully, leaving the tantalizing word, “then -” as if there were more if it could be told – or perhaps nothing to be told.

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