Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Hope is a Thing with Feathers


two birds and a gate-1

Coast path nr Prawle Point, South Devon


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.

Emily Dickenson 1830-1886 

I’d not heard of Emily Dickenson, until I saw the work of artist Sarah Sharpe  at the Derbyshire Open Arts event, many of Sarah’s pieces are inspired by Dickenson. 

Perhaps a photo of a swallow, swift or wren may have been a daintier bird to balance the poem, but we have a bird equality policy on this blog, all birds are equal.


Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

8 thoughts on “Hope is a Thing with Feathers

  1. Lovely post with Emily’s poem. And I love crows, so this is fine with me.

    I enjoyed very much seeing the work of Sarah Sharpe. Thanks for her link. Love the crow with the crown- “Thinking Bird.”

  2. She also said: I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven.

    Paul Simon also wrote: And you read your Emily Dickinson,
    And I my Robert Frost,
    And we note our place with bookmarkers
    That measure what we’ve lost

  3. That’s one of my favorite poems. So glad you now know Miss Dickinson.

  4. Lovely picture and words. I have quoted Emily Dickinson poems in my blogs occasionally. xx

  5. The crows have been filling the woods with commentary this summer. I think they must know something I don’t – yet – and it’s worrying. I’ll try to think of their message as a hopeful one. Of course, what the crow hopes for and what I hope for might be two very different things.

    Emily Dickinson is something of an icon to the performance poets of Stone Circle, and often joins us at the bonfire. I might have to recite something tonight. Maybe this:

    Tell all the Truth but tell it slant —
    Success in Circuit lies
    Too bright for our infirm Delight
    The Truth’s superb surprise

    As Lightning to the Children eased
    With explanation kind
    The Truth must dazzle gradually
    Or every man be blind —

Come on, join in.

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