Thursday, July 30, 2009

Poem of the Day: "Hope is the Thing with Feathers"

The gift of Emily Dickinson's poetry is in her ability to pare down the words to the fewest necessary to give full expression to the notion she's chasing down. On some theories of poetry, this is the very essence of poetry, so on those theories, she is a master. I say she is a master under any credible theory of poetry. She consistently changes my mind -- no matter what she chooses to distill into words, I can't help but find it compelling.

Emily Dickinson, "Hope is the Thing with Feathers"

"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.

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