“Hope” is the thing with feathers | A Poem by Emily Dickinson

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“Hope” is the thing with feathers | A Poem by Emily Dickinson
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“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings 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 strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

by Emily Dickinson

You follow Robert Downey Junior on Instagram, religiously follow and like all his posts, comment on the same, hoping that someday he will follow you back.

You participate in quizzes with a lucky draw, and while you have only just entered the contest, in your mind you make a list of things that you will buy when you win not third, not second, but the first prize.

You wake up every morning, with very high hopes you look at the Whatsapp messages, hoping that the person you are crushing upon from the time immemorial had texted you while you were asleep, “Hey! You there?”

You pick up trash bottles and if you are lucky enough to find a lamp on the roadside, rub it, hoping that some Gennie will appear out of it, and be your slave for a lifetime.

Every election there is heavy anti-incumbency, you vote for the candidate other than the ruling party, hoping that this person will change the world you live in.

Well! If you calculate the probability of any of these things happening, it might be as less as one in a zillion. RDJ might never follow you back, you might never win those million dollars, you might never read the text from that person, the Gennie might never appear, the world might remain the same. But remember the word might’. Due to this word in the sentence, there is hope.

Emily Dickinson

As much we have heard about her, she was a typical rebel kid who is there in every family. A genius in her own, who defied the laws of gravity to rise against the norms. She dropped out of her school, never greeted people she met, loved to live in isolation, never married.

Out of 1800 poems written by her, this one is number 314. During her lifetime only a dozen were published. She also wrote a lot of letters, which give a good insight into the person she was.

Even after her death, the poems that were published were edited to add titles and fix the punctuations to fit the conventional poetic rules. Dickinson kept all the poems she wrote—about 1,800 of them—in hand-stitched collections called “fascicles.” It was only recently that we got to see her poems in its original form with slant rhyme, unconventional capitalization, and punctuation.

Poem

In the poem, Emily talks about hope, something that’s got feathers and perches in the soul, and sings wordless songs like a beautiful bird.

It sounds sweetest even in the worst storms. And the weather must be really bad in order to abash the bird (hope) that kept its family warm.

Its sound can be heard in the chilliest land and in the strangest sea but never loud and clear. It takes a part of the soul of the person having it.

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