Wednesday, May 19, 2004


Hope is a thing with feathers
It perches in the soul
And sings its song without a word
And never stops at all.

This is not the best poem Emily Dickinson wrote, and perhaps not even correctly given here as I typed it from memory. But it speaks to me today, and I wonder if Emily was right. What decides when we feel hopeful? Hope is a fickle thing for me. There are sometimes weeks, even months when it falls silent, as if feeling hope had become an unbearable luxury amongst all the sufferings of this world.

What is the price of hope today?

Some find hope easily; it is always about, ready to sing, even when there is in reality no possibility of a happy ending. For others hope is like the dodo bird, dead before they were born, and yet for others hope sings if there is enough to feed it: something concrete, real, or at least the promise of better things to come.

Can hope be infectuous?

Can you 'catch' it? If only it were possible. We need hope badly today, perhaps more than ever before in our lives if we are to put this world back to order. Are there ways to do this, to trap the bird that sings without a single word? Or rather, to lure it back home, to prepare a nice little perch for it, to invite it to sing again?