Perspective: Poetry Is The Thing With Feathers

Apr 23, 2019

Occasionally, Perspectives regular Elsa Glover hands the mic over to a fellow teacher in the Kaneland School District and they record a guest Perspective. This week, we'll hear from 7th grade teacher Shannon Shanahan.

It’s National Poetry Month and as a Language Arts teacher, I look forward to analyzing poetry with my students.   

Today, I must share with you Emily Dickinson’s “Hope is the Thing with Feathers” because of its simplicity, but more because it reminds us of hope’s power.

“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.

Here, Hope, a bird existing in our souls,  sings its sweetest song - without words - even when the storm is at its strongest. Hope never stops.

The metaphor for the bird of Hope waiting out the storm symbolizes the many difficulties we too face in our lifetime.

For the human heart is also powerful, yet fragile, like a tiny songbird - fluttering and forever finding its way.

On this misty April morning with my tea, I toast Emily Dickinson. Thank you, Ms. Dickinson, for reminding us of our inner songbirds.  We all face adversity, yet our hope for better days keeps us strong -- even in life’s unbearable storms. 

So as spring draws near and life’s uncertainties make their way, remember your song, and never stop singing.

Remember... to hope.

I’m Shannon Shanahan and that’s my perspective.