The thing with feathers

On the 9th December 2016 I received an email from a new friend whose wise counsel and new and refreshing voice in my life has been a gift. The title of the email was just of a blog he had been reading about the heart and waiting and HOPE. It featured a line from a poem by Emily Dickinson and this has been stuck beside my bed since that day in early December.

“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.

Isn’t it just wonderful. It somehow captures the verb and presence of hope when really there aren’t many words that can accurately speak its essence. I love the line “And sings the tune without the words”, as it resonates in my heart as being something I intimately know.

For many years I suffered because hope seemed deferred and connection and intimacy were completely missing. You see hope is without expectation of completion. It doesn’t want to find an end point and can only be less than, after all that is the word, hopeless in its truest form. Hopelessness is not the absence of hope but a disconnection to your actual essence. Hope is a whirlwind gaining momentum and can only be seen when something is caught up in it. Hope is the thing with feathers.

A special thanks to my friend Kerrie who created this framed picture for me a number of years ago. She said it was a word I always used and reminded her of me. It’s amazing what people see and how these creative expressions can be a gift far greater than the giver could ever know. Oh, the gift of hope.


Sally Cranham