“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.

Notes:

Note to POL students: The inclusion or omission of the numeral in the title of the poem should not affect the accuracy score. It is optional during recitation. 

  • Emily Dickinson, "'Hope' is the Thing with Feathers" from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas H. Johnson, ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University press, Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Reprinted by permissions of the publishers and Trustees of Amherst College.

  • Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson Edited by R. W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"I was amazed at the different perspectives that people take regarding poetry and the multiple interpretations that can be effectively conveyed from one single poem."
Sydney Bayless
2017 AR POL Champion