Hope is the thing with feathers

...Emily Dickinson


Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
November 21
Avid reader, novice birder, occasional writer, quiltmaker and cook when not busy working full time in administrative support for a school district or engaged with friends and family. (Life is rich!)


FeatheredThing's Links

MARCH 2, 2009 9:49PM

Open Call to celebrate Read Across America Week with a poem

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This week is Read Across America Week and the focus this year is poetry.  I think it would be fun for us to gather some favorite poems or favorite quotes from really long poems. 

 I won't pressure anyone by calling for your one, most favorite bit of poetry.  I can never choose just one of any kind of favorite thing.  So relax and just share one or some of a favorite poem of yours.

I have so many beloveds, but this is one of them from William Butler Yeats, called "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven":

 Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Enjoy some poetry this week...share a bit here!

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FeatheredThing: your poem is lovely and I thank you for prompting me to put up my favorite poem on my blog. I am not really a frequent poster but i could not resist.

I've just posted one of my own favorite poems.
Oh, this is too good. I have to hit my site and copy one of my favorites now... Thank you for asking for "one" of our favorites, it makes it easier that way! We don't have to commit to ONE and then go to bed and think, Oh, wait! My REAL favorite is...
This is good, but you don't really want to know what my 'favorite' poem is...
Well now I'm just annoyed because I hurried to my site, typed out my poem, and then when I hit "publish" it came out all screwed-up! I had to single space to type it out (which was a pain) and THEN it was all separate and so I had to go delete it because it was all spread out and weird. How do you change to single-space on the stupid format?

P.S. Oh yes, Catamite -- we DO want to know what your favorite poem is, especially with that tease!
If you must, Anne Sexton's "Wanting to Die"

Since you ask, most days I cannot remember.
I walk in my clothing, unmarked by that voyage.
Then the almost unnameable lust returns.

Even then I have nothing against life.
I know well the grass blades you mention,
the furniture you have placed under the sun.

But suicides have a special language.
Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
They never ask why build.

Twice I have so simply declared myself,
have possessed the enemy, eaten the enemy,
have taken on his craft, his magic.

In this way, heavy and thoughtful,
warmer than oil or water,
I have rested, drooling at the mouth-hole.

I did not think of my body at needle point.
Even the cornea and the leftover urine were gone.
Suicides have already betrayed the body.

Still-born, they don't always die,
but dazzled, they can't forget a drug so sweet
that even children would look on and smile.

To thrust all that life under your tongue!--
that, all by itself, becomes a passion.
Death's a sad Bone; bruised, you'd say,

and yet she waits for me, year after year,
to so delicately undo an old wound,
to empty my breath from its bad prison.

Balanced there, suicides sometimes meet,
raging at the fruit, a pumped-up moon,
leaving the bread they mistook for a kiss,

leaving the page of the book carelessly open,
something unsaid, the phone off the hook
and the love, whatever it was, an infection.

But, this is because of the inherent artistry of the work, not a personal affiliation with sentiment. She pulverizes her kernel in it.
I am playing! Just posted. Thanks for the Open Call.
Anne Sexton was amazing. (If I was a poet I could come up with a much better word...) She was one of the first poets I loved, because, being young and imagining yourself as tragic you love poets who are also tragic -- but through the years I've come back to her, recognizing (as you say) the "inherent artistry" of her work. You make an excellent point, that you can appreciate her words without sharing her sentiment. (But nobody has ever expressed that "sentiment" as well as Anne Sexton.) Thanks -- this reminds me to pull her volume from the bookcase tomorrow and re-read.
I posted an open-call poem for you.
That one figures prominently in my favorite poems list, which seems to be growing and growing--hundreds by now. :)
Great idea, thing, and a great choice, Yeats is wonderful isn't he?

I've posted one of my favoirites for anyone who's interested
OK, mine's here: http://open.salon.com/blog/merwoman/2009/03/02/open_call_-_poetry
Always looking for excuses to share poetry! I've posted one on my site, too: Sharon Olds's "The Language of the Brag." Thanks for the great prompt!
Thank you so much for starting this! What a lovely way to begin the day.
I'm finally at the source, the muse. As soon as I saw a post about a favorite poem, I had to put one up, too.


Adrienne Rich :)

getting an education here, Thank you for this
So limericks don't count? Only kidding. I'm not a poetry maven but I know what I like. Great open call.
Wow, the interest in poetry is so fun to see! I posted before leaving for work this morning and this is my first opportunity to take a look, so I wanted to say Sorry for not responding sooner to any comments. I will read them all now and will totally enjoy your favorite poems!

I love OS!
Okay, I am working my way through the comments and where someone has posted one, I am visiting and commenting there. It may take me a while, but just let me say a big Thank You for the enthusiastic response to my open call.

I am so enjoying all the lovely poetry!
Catamite...I totally enjoyed your post of Anne Sexton's poem. She writes fierce, gut wrenching truths. Not always easy to read but always worth it.

Thanks for commenting and sharing!
suzie, I am sorry you had frustration trying to post! I checked your blog, but didn't see that you were able to put it up there. (If you still want to and have it in a document where you can copy/paste, that might work either right here in a comment, or on your own blog post.)

Anyway, thanks for checking this out (and encouraging Cat....to share!)
This is a wonderful idea and this poem by Emily Dickenson, my favorite poet, is too good to pass up by way of thanking you:

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.
And of course, I just now really looked at your blog banner.... oy! Well, at least all will now see it all.
Thanks for doing this! I have so enjoyed reading everyone's favorites.
Leonde! Lovely comment.

I hope more people check out your post here.

Thanks for reading and responding.
Sally! That's what I call Serendipity at work!! Obviously I totally love that Emily Dickinson poem and I so thank you for sharing it here in its entirety!

I'm so glad you and others are enjoying this post/prompt today! I am having a ball reading everything posted and commented.
I just posted one of mine. Great idea, this is!
Thank you everyone! I am totally jazzed from bouncing all around OS reading all the great poetry posts today (or as many as I could find until my strength gave out!) I feel overwhelmed by all the beauty and I have to stop now to absorb it all and catch some zzzz's

Fantastic day of poetry sharing!
Risk by Anais Nin

And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to Blossom.
Wow, I never thought about posting in Comment! Thanks for the heads-up! Okay, I was GOING to print out a Marge Piercy poem that I love, but it's kind of long and this IS comment, so instead I'll give you this Grace Paley poem that I ALSO love!

Here (by Grace Paley)

Here I am in the garden laughing
an old woman with heavy breasts
and a nicely mapped face

how did this happen
well that's who I wanted to be

at last a woman
in the old style sitting
stout thighs apart under
a big skirt grandchild sliding
on off my lap a pleasant
summer perspiration

that's my old man across the yard
he's talking to the meter reader
he's telling him the world's sad story
how electricity is oil or uranium
and so forth I tell my grandson
run over to your grandpa ask him
to sit beside me for a minute I
am suddenly exhausted by my desire
to kiss his sweet explaining lips
Leonde, the Anais Nin is beautiful. It makes me think of something I have heard scientists comment about: the persistence and tenacity of life. Something about how where you least expect it you will find life stubbornly asserting itself in some way, shape or form.

This poem makes me think of that...like a daisy blooming in a crack in the sidewalk. Thanks!
suzie, thank you so much for the Grace Paley! Wonderful, of course. I do hope that I can become that woman one day...sitting in a garden laughing and with a nicely mapped face. Yeah, something worth aspiring to.
A MASTIFF'S OATH....... by Kim Hawley

When you are sad.....I will lick away your tears.
When you are scared.....I scare off any of your fears.
When you are worried.....I will give you my loving hope.
When you mope....I will be your big old cheer up dope.
When you are confused and want to know why you can't see the light.
I shall be the big mass blocking out all the light from sight.
This is my oath, I pledge to the end of time.
If you ask Why, Because silly you are THE best friend of -- Mine!
I Wove wou!!!

Registered and published all right reserved.
I write poems all the time on my blog. You are invited to stop in anytime.

Around About I go by Kim Hawley

Around about and around about I go,
Looking for Pooh Bear that I love so,
And all around the garden patch,
Pooh wouldn't leave a honey batch.

So, around about and around about I go,
Looking through the webs for Pooh's face,
Some place in time and space,
In Pooh's eyes I could see the hopes and dreams,
Or at least some new little schemes.

Again, around about and around about I go,
Looking in places I don't even know,
Pooh was here, left a foot print behind,
My little Pooh Bear is one of a kind,
It really don't matter when or how,
Just so I find Pooh now.

But still around about and around about I go,
Everyday without Pooh Bear I feel so low,
Remember bouncing on my knee,
And in your little face there was such glee,
I will find you, I will not give up,
Even if you are not still a little pup,
So, around about I go,
Today is the day I find you and never let you go.
I love you Pooh Bear.

Poem inspired by the love of Michael Wright Hawley for his missing Daughter, Tania Shandelle Hawley.
Published all right revised.