When the world feels dark bring a Torch Let the Torch be brightly lit Let it illuminate the darkest corners of Earth May Earth play its part and forever spin For a spinning Wheel gathers no more Covid And Covid will be killed by the Needle And through the eye of that very Needle Will Nature work her magic And bring us all a Spring to recall Life renewed in Hope For ‘Hope is the thing with Feathers … Which never stops at all.‘
VERSE – WHB: Dec.2018 . . . [ With acknowledgement to Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) ]
One of the shortest poems I know, yet I find it so powerful, so wise. Words need to be heard, to be read, to be said, above all perhaps they need to be used. In its brevity, Emily Dickinson uses them so carefully here and yet prompting further thought with the depth of their meaning. Words used in a poem do take flight as the reader is led to consider their meaning further.
This is the third in a Monday sequence of poems, by three very different poets,but all of which have been composed as soul-searching expressions of the sense of self or the search for the same.
This is one of Emily Dickinson’s most quoted poems, short and to the point, in which she takes a more positive, if seemingly down-beat, stance on the subject.
Its memorable opening lines, grab the reader’s interest with their boldness and certainty.
I’m Nobody! Who are you? Are you – Nobody, too? Then there’s a pair of us – don’t tell! They’d advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody! How public – like a Frog – To tell one’s name – the livelong June – To an admiring Bog!
I think she is revelling in the fact that she is not well-known as a poet. She, in fact, is enjoying her anonymity. Apart from a very few, her poems were not published until after she died, and the freedom which this gave her from the publicity and pressures which fame can bring, she greatly valued. So very different from the uncertainties and lack of self-esteem from which both John Clare and Sylvia Plath suffered.
“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.
A delightful, short and simply expressed poem, which expands a metaphor into a delightfully positive view of the power of Hope in our lives. It remains with us through gale and storm, demanding nothing of us.
The preferred use by Emily Dickinson of dashes to punctuate her verses has been, more recently, commented on light-heartedly in a short poem of Wendy Cope’s . . .
Higgledy-piggledy Emily Dickinson Liked to use dashes Instead of full stops
Nowadays, faced with such Idiosyncrasy, Critics and editors Send for the cops.