Emily Dickinson

(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886 / Amherst / Massachusetts)

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"Hope" is the thing with feathers


254

"Hope" is the thing with feathers—
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  • Brian Colton (3/3/2010 11:59:00 PM)

    Hope has feathers, meaning it can be elusive. Some feel this poem only from this perspective or from like personal experiences with hope and its inherent flight potential. They take those experiences and allow it to color their interpretation of the poem. There is nothing wrong with this. Poems cause us to 'sing the tune without the words' and pull from personal experiences. However, focusing strictly on the feathers, rich meaning can be missed: Hope cannot be put into words, we only know the way it makes us feel and it is relentless and persistent. Hope perches in the soul and may seem as if it could fly at any time but is anchored deeper than we think. So deep, in fact, that it can suprisingly withstand the Gales and sore storm. So deep that it keeps many warm with its song in the face of these storms. The amazing thing about hope is we see it even in the devastation of Haiti and Chile. What else do those good people have? We offer hope in our donations. The amazing thing is hope would perch, sing and persist in the human soul in many cases even if help did not come immediately. It requires 'no crumb' but is an inherent part of the human soul that will eternally be found in most of us and in the most extreme circumstances. Dickinson defined hope perfectly using this bird metaphor but most importantly she inspires the very thing she describes. (Report) Reply

  • Fiona Kennedy (8/23/2009 5:42:00 PM)

    I felt very moved by this poem it's the first Dickinson poem I've read. Describes hope perfectly (Report) Reply

  • Ravi A (8/7/2009 1:22:00 PM)

    In extreme reality, hope may leave us or we will rather lose hope. Hope is an expectaion of unrealized 'morrows. Whether hope leaves us into despair or shows happy dales, it is this hope which drives us to sustain in the sea of life where no real prediction is really possible. 'The title. Feathers tell volumes. (Report) Reply

  • Cecil Gose (7/22/2009 6:25:00 AM)

    In this world of today where terrorism becomes a habit, with economic and political crisis arises, the only thing that's left is HOPE! (Report) Reply

  • Louie -Love & Peace- Levy (6/30/2009 7:50:00 AM)

    To; Adam Sobh + curious readers.
    This is the way I feel and sense of
    Emily metaphors, her feelings, imagination and
    with listening heart is how she needs to be read
    'Hope' is the thing with Feathers
    An emotion felt as 'feathers'
    'That perches in the soul—' sings a tune- never stops'
    At this point the feathers are not of a bird but
    of a wish, (hope) that we hope we will never give up on from within (Soul)

    Now in trance, she envisions the bird, her 'hopes'.
    And sweetest—in the Gale
    As life would be so pleasant and also cruel, so she writes;
    'and sore must be the storm— (life)
    That could abash the little Bird ' (Hope)
    That kept so many warm— (birds) and gale) = pleasantness.

    Her finale, is most brilliant of self insight
    with metaphor to hold all readers captive and
    self questioning. Remember? 'Hope[ being her feathered bird.

    Yet, never, in Extremity,
    It asked a crumb—of Me.
    ----------
    Intuitively by;
    Louie Levy (Report) Reply

  • Adam Sobh (4/10/2009 11:50:00 AM)

    I'm doing a project on Emily Dickinson for my 11th grade American Literature class, and i need to find a poem by Miss Emily Dickinson and then analyze it, i chose this poem, but i don't really understand it, so if anybody could please explain it to me and help me to better understand it, i would be extremely grateful. (Report) Reply

  • Han Bin Kim (4/3/2009 7:44:00 PM)

    This is such a beautiful poem! I am guessing that this poem actually does not have a title, and the first sentence just became the title. Am I right? (Report) Reply

  • Rita Shay (2/2/2009 4:47:00 PM)

    I always think of a bird getting up and flapping its wings when I read this, it gives me hope. I love her descriptions. (Report) Reply

  • Lu Wenchao (11/2/2008 8:13:00 AM)

    This poem is very wonderful.It depicts the role of hope in our life.I like the title: Hope is the thing with feathers.This title can tell us lots of things about hope.Obviously, the feather here belongs to the hope, and we all konw that feather is very light, and is able to help the bird fly in the sky.According to this trait of feather, we can know that hope is also very light, which means it will not bring heavy burden on us like the reality.Also, we can deduce that the hope can help us fly just as the feather help the bird fly.In addition to this, the feather is also very warm, which can keep the cold away from the birds.In this point, hope is also very warm, which can help us walk out of the chilly land safely.In a word, we can konw lots of things concerning hope from the title of this poem. (Report) Reply

  • Maverick Evita (9/13/2008 7:14:00 AM)

    My favourite Emily Dickinson poem is 'I am Nobody'.And now after losing myself in this poem, I found the second favourite of mine. (Report) Reply

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