Sunday, April 18, 2010


Before she became the serenely severe recluse of our mental pictures, Emily Dickinson, as a younger woman wore her hair much more softly, but an expression far less serene and no less severe, perhaps even somewhat angry. Of the many, many wonders in her huge complete works most of us return to no more than 20 or 30 well known ones. No apologies for one of the best known, and simplest of her works, "Hope"

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sing the tune -- without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard,
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the stranget sea,
Yes, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.


Kass said...

"...that perches in the soul." So lovely.

but I beg to differ with "...never ....asked a crumb of me."

Hope does ask that we feed it. It won't be let off its perch. It dogs us. Drops its feathers in obvious places, asking us to pick them up with our teeth, even when we're old and dentured.

Conda V. Douglas said...

I love this poem, it too is one of my favorites.