Out on a Limb

Hope is the thing with feathers.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a big fan of the poetry of Miss Dickinson.  It isn’t that I don’t see its value; it just doesn’t burn its imagery into my brain housing group the way Mr. Jarrell’s, Mr. Whitman’s, or Mr. Yeats’ does.

So it is understandably surprising when the opening line to her poem (#314) came up in three separate conversations, with three different people, in my life last week.  By the third occasion, I was well into my weisenheimer mode and I responded that Miss Emily had left out the part about the beak, the talons, and the crapping on the windshield.

I may have been more accurate than I intended.  After Pandora had let loose all the war, hate, disease, and disaster; hope could be lifted out of the box.  It isn’t necessary for any of its fellow box captives, but it is the only way any of them can be overcome. Without adversity, there is no need, no function, for hope.  They are forever bound together.

The thing with feathers perches there, singing, on the limb.  Its song coaxes us farther out, away from the trunk, where the notes are clearer and the fall so much more likely.


About stalbansparish

St. Alban's Parish is a vibrant and diverse Episcopal Church in Washington, DC near the National Cathedral. We come from every walk of life, every culture and context, and every corner of this region. St. Alban's Parish is active in the city, engaging social issues, and making the reconciling love of Christ known in word and deed. We have ministries for children, youth, young adults, adults, and the elderly. We have outreach programs that address homelessness, poverty, the environment, and hunger. We believe in being open and inclusive to all people no matter disability, age, income, gender, race, or sexual orientation. We welcome the faithful, the seeker, and the doubter, because God's embrace is wide, and God's good news is for all people. We want you to come, participate, grow in God's love, and become a part of the Body of Christ at St. Alban's!
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2 Responses to Out on a Limb

  1. Cay Harltey says:

    Annemarie…this is poetry, and it’s wonderful !

  2. Ellie Roberts says:

    Your thought were very thought provoking but I’m confused about poem #314. Where is it to be found. Thanks, Ellie Roberts

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