The thing with feathers

“Hope” is the Thing with Feathers

by Emily Dickinson

“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.

This has been a long, bloody week in the world–the bombs in Boston, the earthquake in Pakistant and Iran, the explosion in West, the manhunt in Boston, the earthquake in China. There has been a lot of fear, anger, sorrow, pain, etc. But there has also been a lot of love. Have you noticed how, in times of crisis, our tendency as human beings is to seek out and cling to the good? We pass around stories about people who do brave things, who show compassion, who find ways to help, who make small and grand gestures that say you’re are not alone. Our news industry typically trades in doom and gloom and the very worst of humanity, but during these times when the world feels glutted with those things, everyone seems intent on finding the best our species has to offer. We need something solid to hold on to. We need something good. We need hope. But it’s not, I think, about finding hope or keeping it alive. It’s about giving it a megaphone so we can hear it over the other noise. Because I think that our inclination to find the good in worst moments is evidence that Emily Dickinson had it right; Hope is the thing that perches in our soul and never stops singing.


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