Response to a Poem

Posted: November 27th, 2013

Response to a Poem







Response to a Poem

I felt a Funeral in my Brain is a poem that tries to explore the functioning of human minds especially when they experience stress issues. The author traces the descent of the speaker into madness. The poem attempts to replicate the mental stages of a human being through using the metaphor of a funeral. Dickson, the author of the poem, attempts to employ some common funeral rituals to mark the stages of the mental collapse of the speaker. The poem reflects the way the author replicates the consciousness of human beings in a controlled poetic structure. The author uses concrete language as well as imageries in exploring abstract issues. The funeral event used throughout the poem is used to describe the mental breakdown of human beings and mourners are used to express the speaker’s pain.

The poem I felt a Funeral in my Brain is an interesting poem, which tries to bring out the problems people undergo when they are stressed. However, the poem sounds like a child trying to narrate a depressing story. Children narrate stories, which focus on them, and this is what the speaker of the poem narrates. The speaker tries to focus the story directly on her side because she uses words such as “I felt…I thought…I heard” (Dickinson, Keller, Keller, Hawthorne and Red Angel Press, 2002). The author makes the story to appear like a narrative being narrated by a kid who is trying to remember exactly what happened. This makes the poem interesting although it has many short lines with many poses.

Moreover, many details are unnecessary; thus, the poem seems like that of a child trying to learn the ways of creating a story. For instance, the use of the word ‘then’, which is used in the last stanza of the poem, is unnecessary. The sentence structure of the poem and the way words are put together is not different from that of the child. For instance, many lines start with the word ‘and’, something that ignores the language rule of writing. This does not mean that Dickson’s poem is simple like the story of a child but it is because of the ways he employs the style of writing the poem that makes it fun. The poem is a perfect work, which is so interesting because one can imagine the funeral that is taking place in the mind of the speaker. The use of a funeral is an extended metaphor because it is used throughout the poem.

This poem speaks powerfully to people since it captures the minds of people when they are being stressed. It recreates the meaningful events in the life of individuals thus making people to understand as well as revive their experiences in life. For instance, the opening stanza whereby the author uses the metaphor of the funeral is a clear indication of what many people undergo when they are being stressed. In addition, the author mixes physical, intellectual and spiritual reality as if they are the same. This seems not to make any distinction between the body, mind and soul (Thomason and Kelly, 2001). For instance, the speaker uses the word ‘soul’ in comparing a wood floor where the mourners walk over with the casket.

Lastly, the poem has a soundtrack because the speaker imagines people mourning, making footsteps together with noise but she cannot actually see the funeral that takes place. This makes the poem so amusing because the speaker can hear everything and this makes her to compare herself to an individual with a giant ear, which is indicated in the fourth stanza. The beating of the drum is likened to the sound produced during the funeral and the mourners creak inside her soul (Dickinson & Vendler, 2010). This is an indication that the poem is just a fiction of a fairy tale. It reminds the reader the way individuals become filled up with thoughts when they are having trauma. Nevertheless, the ‘silence’ is used as a personification of someone who belongs to the strange race as the speaker thus making the poem interesting (Dickinson et al., 2002).


Dickinson, E., Keller, B. J., Keller, R., Hawthorne, N., & Red Angel Press. (2002). I felt a Funeral in my Brain: A Poem. Bremen, Maine: Red Angel Press.

Dickinson, E., & Vendler, H. (2010). Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries. Cambridge, Mass: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Thomason, E., & Kelly, D. (2001). Poetry for Students: Presenting Analysis, Context and

Criticism on Commonly Studied Poetry. Detroit: Gale Group.

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