“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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem “Hope” is the thing with feathers

31 Comments

  1. Anneie says:

    I like this poem because it is sweet and optimistic. I love the image created of a bird singing in a storm and on strange seas. This poem really just means hope is a never-ending thing humans have that gets them through dire circumstances.

  2. Tituba says:

    hope = oral sex

  3. alejandro says:

    me parecio muy hermoso el poema y es uno de mis favoritos.

  4. tammy says:

    What year did Emily write this poem? I just wonder how she felt at the time she was writing it.

  5. Allison says:

    Emily Dickinson’s Poem 254 relates to an individual’s own personal sense of hope, which is metaphorically used as a bird. The “bird” is characterized as having feathers and perching in the soul; its tune is “without words,” which attributes to the fact that hope is essentially personal to each and every individual and no one’s sense of hope is similar to that of another. “And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—“ is a strong juxtaposition of images presented by the speaker. The speaker says that hope is “sweetest,” meaning that one’s hope is positive and uplifting, even through adversity such as “in the Gale.” However, the choice of using the word “Gale” is particularly interesting because of the play on words of the name Gail, which is a Hebrew name for “joy.” While “sweetest” and “joy” are very similar adjectives and images, “sweetest” and “forceful winds” do not seemingly complement each other, thus introducing a rich, contrasting image. The loyalty of hope makes it so seemingly nourishing and beneficial to its host; yet, it is still perceived to be “small” since it is perched within one’s soul. However, it is arguable that one takes something so important for granted, and hope’s presence may appear to be small but, in actuality, is foundationally crucial.

  6. Courtney says:

    I believe the meaning of this poem is that hope never fails. Hope’s survival is personified through a bird. Like the bird, hope comes from a person’s soul, and “never stops at all,” meaning that a person doesn’t stop hoping. The bird continues to survive after the storm. When the speaker states, “I’ve heard it in the chillest land/And on the strangest sea” it symbolizes the survival of hope under horrible circumstances. The last two lines suggest that hope can even survive without a person’s help, just as birds do. “Yet, never, in Extremity/It asked a crumb – of me.”

  7. Robin says:

    I have always been a fan but this poem has gotten me thru the darkest moments of my life. I am thankful that it was written.

  8. kimberlie says:

    This poem is by far one of Emilys best works. Its my favorite poem of all time!!!

  9. Emily says:

    This is one of my favorite poems of all time.
    It’s truely beautiful.

  10. erika says:

    can u analyze what this poem mean in essay form

  11. Frank Wang says:

    This poem shows the true beuty of language, the essence of Hope. Brilliant piece

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