swirls behind
the shiny surface
like the dark side
of a mirror

calling names
pointing fingers
what do you think
you’re doing here?

it pulls
at my feet
like slick fingers
of tangled weeds
unseen in the murky
depths of the pond

the thousand ways
i can’t
and don’t
and won’t ever

it laughs
behind its hand
like a bully
telling secrets
on the playground

its weight
makes the pen
too heavy
to pick up,
its shadows
make the mirror dim

And, just because I don’t want to depress you with the inner workings of my irritating neurosis (which, by the way, I am sure will pass…I’ve had a difficult few weeks with writer’s block and generally feeling unable to live up to my own expectations) here is a wonderful little poem by Emily Dickenson on Hope:


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.

Links to more Random Acts of Poetry: New Years Poetry at Treasures of Darkness, L.L.’s Public Display of Affection on The High Calling Blogs,

8 thoughts on “Poetry Friday (Random Acts of Poetry)

  • January 2, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    both sides … real … true.

    your honesty blesses.

  • January 2, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    This was pretty refreshing. The poems remind me of the bittersweet beauty of life: hope dashed on the rocks but miraculously, silently climbing back up and standing straight on the precipice with the wind blowing through her hair again. You can’t appreciate one without the other.

  • January 2, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Vulnerability – a beautiful thing to behold. I read somewhere “Apart from the darkness I would never have appreciated the light.” Doubt gives way to hope and Scripture thankfully teaches that hope remains!

  • January 2, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    My favorite Emily Dickenson poem! And both poems mirror the tug-of-war that’s been going on inside of me lately. It’s good to be reminded that Hope is still there, singing its song, even as Doubt tries to wither it.

    Thank you!

  • January 2, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    I like these lines…

    the thousand ways
    i can’t
    and don’t
    and won’t ever

    Maybe it’s the sound of the lines. Or the sense of helplessness they convey. Or both.

    And funny you should post that particular Dickinson poem. A friend of mine was just talking about that “feathers” line and wondering about its original source.

    On another note, Happy New Year.

  • January 2, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    I love this. It is exactly how I have been feeling recently.

    I actually felt grateful! that both of the computers we own crashed and were out of commission (although it was a nightmare) because I just didn’t/don’t know what to write next.

    THANK YOU, by the way, for your encouraging words on Sweetcorn and Cairo.

    This is also one of my favorite Dickinson poems. For Advent my son wrote/composed “The Hope Song”, which he and two other boys performed in church. As he sang
    “..But nothing gives us wings,
    Quite like hope..” I thought, I wonder where that came from. Is it possible he still remembers “hope is the thing with feathers”? It was in a poetry anthology I used to read to my two when they were little (they are now 11 and 13).

    Thank you. Blessings to you in the New Year.

  • January 3, 2009 at 5:23 am

    Erica, just wanted to let you know you surpass my expectations in many ways. And writing is certainly one of them. Thanks for sharing your soul. This Dickenson poem is one that is particularly special to one of my infertile friends. She used the “feathers” line when she finally had her beautiful baby girl after 4 IVFs. Hope is surely something Grand. Happy New Year, may it be truly blessed!

  • January 4, 2009 at 3:44 am

    Thanks so much, guys! Your comments are wonderful…thoughtful, supportive and poetic in themselves. You are blessings to me.

    Linda…I love your analogy, especially the part about standing straight on the precipice with the wind blowing through her hair. It reminds me of that French painting of Lady Liberty (but less, um, revealing).

    (((hugs))) and Happy New Year to you all!


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