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 chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
Despite my struggles with allowing myself to hope, I do love this image of hope as a little bird. When reading this poem, I’ve always pictured hope as a tiny bird, something like a wren. The image of this tiny little bird nesting in the soul is a comforting one.
The following quote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616) makes me wonder if I have the wrong bird in mind, though.
“The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune’s spite; revive from ashes and rise.”
What if hope is a phoenix rather than a wren? What could be more hopeful than a bird that is able to rise from its own ashes?
Maybe I would have a greater ability to allow myself to hope if I thought of hope as a phoenix that is re-created from its own destruction every time it dies. Perhaps hope is not as fragile and delicate as I tend to conceive of it being. Rather than being devastated each time a hope is dashed, maybe I can learn to look instead for the new hope that will rise from the ashes of the one that was crushed. For despite all my efforts not to hope at all, I find new hope ever springing back to life in my soul.