Monday, January 19, 2009

Hope and Change

Sprite’s Keeper Spin this week is poetry. Either share a poem you love or write a poem. I had planned on either writing a poem or sharing an old one. I used to love writing poetry. One of my two publishing claims is a poem I wrote as an undergrad that was selected for the University of Hawaii’s Hawaii Review (my other published piece is an educational research article in an educational periodical – yeah even writing that phrase bored the blog world). But my old poetry tended to be dark. And I wanted a poem this week about hope or change or hope and change. And there is a favorite poem of mine that I’ve loved since high school days. So, I’m sharing that instead.

HOPE IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS
Emily Dickenson (1830-1886)

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.


Well, my hope did ask for some crumbs last Fall. I was very hopeful, but felt the need to put effort into my hope. I spent a few Sundays volunteering my time by making phone calls. The butterflies that come to life in my stomach, the goose bumps I get, the sense of a burden being lifted, all of this every time I hear Obama’s speeches. But that is the work of tomorrow. For today, we have this speech to honor.

35 comments:

Gledwood said...

I love Emily D... would love to read far more of her...

... on the subject of American women poets, Sylvia Plath is one of my favourites...

As for Martin Luther King: Obama does a brilliant oratorial impression of him, but don't you find his off-the-cuff speaking style FAR FAR FAR weaker..?? I do wish Obama the best: HE'S GONNA NEED IT!

Liz said...

I also love Emily Dickinson, I have a book of her poetry that an old boyfriend gave me ages ago, but I don't know the one you quote here - it is perfect for the times, though. Hope and change, exactly what we need right now.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Gledwood - I would agreee with you. Obama's off the cuff speech does not have the oratory effect, but he does think about what he says carefully before he says it.

Liz - a book of poetry from an old boyfriend? I never had that boyfriend.

only a movie said...

"the sense of a burden being lifted"

I feel that too. A little bit. Lovely post, Pseudo. I am so very excited for tomorrow. We're setting up our classroom so that the kiddos can watch too. It will be fun to watch through their eyes.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Movie - I hope I get to watch. I share a room with the social studies teacher and we had notfigured it out when school got called off Friday from the storm.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

That was beautiful, Pseudo. Thanks for sharing it with us. Hope is exactly what I need today. We all do.

Sarah's Blogtastic Adventures said...

I can't tell you the hope and change I feel about tomorrow and the next four years. It brings tears to my eyes knowing we are watching history and not just a new president but so much more. Beautiful poem! : )

Mama Dawg said...

I have never read that poem before. I'm not a huge Emily fan. Never have been. But I liked that one.

True Blue Texan said...

Good choice. I loved the video. The commentary at the end made it seem like it was part of a larger documentary. Do you know what it's from?

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

SMB- i think so too.

Sarah - me too, never felt so much a part of a bigger, better, hopeful turning point.

Mama - me too usually, but i have always liked this one.

Texan - I have to admit I got if off YouTube. It sounds like Dan Rather's voice?

Vodka Mom said...

I adore poetry, and always have. Thanks so much for sharing that. I want to see YOUR WORK. Bring it to Florida!!!

Dave said...

This was a wonderful inspiring post. Thanks for this today!
Much needed.

Anna Lefler said...

Ah, PHST, you are just awesome. Thank you for every piece of this post...

Love and hugs,

Anna

McEwens said...

you know what I think, I think they should have held the inauguration today. What a fitting tribute that would have been to Dr King. I wish he could have lived to see it

thistle said...

Beautiful post Psuedo...both the poem and the King vid...

Do you ever wonder whether or not things would have been any different had he not been taken from the world too early? Very inspiring orator.

and now it's my turn to be intimidated for the Spin...poetry is not my strength...yikes...

Tricia said...

This is a beautiful poem. I love poetry but have always found it intimidating to write. I hope you'll post some of yours, even if it's dark.

Casey said...

Great choice! And I got goosebumps just seeing Obama's face in your post. I'm so excited for the next four to eight years! :)

Debbie said...

Wonderful poem. I can't wait to hear Obama's speech tomorrow.

JBA said...

Great post and yes, tomorrow is almost here. I can hardly believe. Now I really do feel like singing an Annie medley- complete with "THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!"

Beth said...

Fantastic and well thought out! I am so darned excited about the inauguration tomorrow. My teachers will have their tvs on for the students. We even rolled tvs into the lunchroom. I don't want the kids to miss a minute of this historical day!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

The TV us going to be on in my classroom tomorrow all day.

Jack said...

That Emily Dickenson poem is one of my very favorites!

HOPE, your week goes well :)

Sprite's Keeper said...

I remember the beauty of this poem and the placing of it is perfect.
Wonderful Spin! You're linked!

stan said...

I'm watching the news now about how foreign visitors are flocking in to catch Obama's inauguration. wow.

Sunny said...

The poem is wonderful.

melanie @ don't expect much said...

Perfect poem for today! I also get goose bumps and sometimes tears when I hear Obama... I recently posted about another politician who went through adversity... JFK... amazing how his inauguration speech still holds some valuable lessons for today...

Happy Inauguration Day!

Just B said...

The poem was just perfect. I do feel like America hasn't asked a crumb of me except my suspension of disbelief for a long time. I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and share the burden that I too feel is suddenly lighter.

Kristan said...

LOVE Emily D! Particularly that poem.

Got the Inauguration on in the background. I'm probably going to ball like a baby...

deconstructing jen said...

Great post.

Every bit of the last two days have been giving me chills. The gravity of today is unprecedented. We stand on the eve of change and it's time to get our hands dirty.

Melissa B. said...

This is from The Rev. Joseph Lowery's Inaugural Benediction today. I love it because of what it says, and also because it rhymes!

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen."

goodfather said...

Today is a day of hope for all of us. Thanks for this most excellent post.

Queen Bee said...

It's so important to remember those words. Even today, they still move people.

Fragrant Liar said...

Today is a great day to be an American, ain't it?

KJ

Shangrila said...

Emily Dickinson's poetry is wonderful-thanks for sharing this one with us! Yay Obama!

Super Nova said...

Amen.