Friday, September 07, 2007

Poetry Friday: Hope is the Thing With Feathers

The first lines of the "Hope is a thing without feathers" poem by Emily Dickinson have been running through my head lately. I'm going through a bit of a rough patch these days as the House of Glee figures out its finances and sometimes I feel shaky with anxiety. Even the good news of having two contracts to sign for upcoming storytelling festivals has me a bit off-balance with worrying in advance. (What if the sound equipment doesn't work properly? What if my voice fails? What if my fingers are so sweaty that they slip on the guitar strings?) Every time I think that perhaps I should just give up this idea of freelance storytelling, I remind myself that I earn as much in one birthday party gig as I do working four hours at the library information desk. Birthday parties don't cover health insurance, but then, I can't play my guitar to the information desk. It's a tradeoff.

Anyway, I'm returning to Emily Dickinson to clear my mind. I suspect that other Dickinson fans have already posted this poem for Poetry Friday. Well, here it comes around again!

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 Dickinson

The Poetry Friday Roundup this week is at Semicolon. It is open to everyone, every week.


Kelly Fineman said...

I'm so glad to see you back! I posted this very poem 2 weeks ago, along with a lovely image of Emily that my friend Kevin Slattery drew. He's drawn her a number of times, in fact. But I digress.

Love this poem. And can't hear it often enough.

limpy99 said...

Good luck with your finances. It's always a pain when reality intrudes on story time.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Kelly-- The poem must have been in the zeitgeist then! I'll look for your entry.

Limpy99: Thanks. When it works, storytime is what helps us deal with reality.

adrienne said...

Woo hoo to signing contracts! :) When you feel the panic coming on, maybe you should try playing your guitar for a while. That way, you're focusing on something else, something you like, and something that will help ensure that you're at your best when you're out doing your gig. Good all around, right?

Either that, or you should go hang out in the playhouse. Ooo! Play the guitar in the playhouse. Yes, that is it. :)

I love this poem, incidentally. Thank you for bringing it to this Friday.

Lone Star Ma said...

Love to you during your rough patch.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Adrienne-- Playing guitar in the playhouse is a fine idea.

LSM: Thank you.

Schelle said...

Love that poem! and I hear you on the finances question... busy finishing my CV tonight with a deadline tomorrow for a big job application & a pile more if that doesn't work... scary stuff.

Glad the bones/feathers resonated with you - I felt the same pull when writing the line so is wonderful to know I was not alone.

Best of luck with the current contracts, and many more!