Emily Elizabeth Dickinson, December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886, is one of America’s greatest and most original poets of all time. She took definition as her province and challenged the existing definitions of poetry and the poet’s work.
“Hope is the thing with feathers” written somewhere around 1861 is a popular poem by Emily Dickinson. The speaker defines “Hope” as a feathered creature that dwells inside the human spirit. This feathery thing sings a wordless tune, not stopping under any circumstances. Its tune sounds best when heard in fierce winds and only an incredibly severe storm could stop this bird from singing. Moreover the “Hope” bird has made many people feel warm. In addition the speaker tells us that he has heard the bird’s singing in the coldest places, and on the weirdest seas. But in the speaker’s experiences, even the most extreme ones, the bird has never asked for anything in return.
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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.
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