A poem doesn’t have to do much if it is perfect. I tend to write shorter poems myself because I find that the longer they go on, the harder it is to maintain any amount of excellence without dipping at times. As we have also said so far, sometimes a solitary transcendent line is enough to make a poem great. Building around that line with material that complements it is difficult, but can lead to magic.

“Hope”, by Emily Dickinson, begins with such an immortal line. From there, the author delicately crafts melodic verse that builds on the promise of the opening. There is not much else to say about this work, other than I believe it delivers exactly what it promises.



“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.


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