Hope is the thing with feathers

A picture of a dandelion superimposed on the word hope on a purple background

Arguably Dickinson’s best-known joyful work. The poem shows us an abstract feeling, hope, and metaphors it into a physical image of a perching bird. Certainly a departure from many of her other works that discuss themes of pain and death. The central image of a feathered, lighthearted, bundle of singing joy has become an Emily Dickinson brand message. Found on greeting cards and coffee mugs worldwide.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers

“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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Poem – Hope is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson, circa 1861

Image – “hope typography with dandelion on purple sky” by kissikunterbunt, licensed for Prose and Poetry by Splashlime via adobe stock. 

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