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  • Kathy Shimpock

"Hope is the Thing with Feathers" (a poem) - by Emily Dickinson

“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.


The following instructions for reflective reading, comes from the Benedictine practice of Lectio Divina (or holy reading). I find this process equally valuable for uncovering the wisdom of poetry.

  1. Read the poem linked above slowly.

  2. As you do so, look for a word in the poem that stands out to you.

  3. Now, read the poem a second time.

  4. What phrase stands out for you?

  5. What is this poem saying to you today? What message might you take forward?

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