“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
(Emily Dickinson)

This poem gives me chills, seriously, every time I read that final couplet I shiver. It sounds like a child’s song. It is ridiculously sentimental. And, I think, deeply, disturbingly, wrong.
Emily Dickinson is a very difficult woman to understand. Is she being sentimental or ironic?

In Hesiod’s Works and Days, where we get the story of Pandora’s Box, hope is the last thing to emerge from the box when all the other evils have flown out to plague humanity. It is a delib

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