“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 (1830-1886)
When I need cheering up, I sometimes choose a thick, juicy Russian novel from my bookshelf. Engrossing myself in Tolstoy or Turgenev usually works, but when pressed for time, I think I might choose this little poem instead. It carries healing winds of literary charm and positivity on its graceful flight, and then it lands on a weathervane which points away from self-pity.