A Walk in Winter with Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson reminds us that hope sheds light in dark places.

Emily Dickinson’s poem ‘Hope’ is a beautiful reminder of the enduring capacity for hope that resides within us all. The poem speaks of hope as a bird, soaring through the sky despite the storms that surround it during flight. 

Emily Dickinson’s poetic words encourage us to keep our hope alive – to recognize hope’s power to transform anxiety into optimism, anticipation, and resilience.  She found beauty and inspiration in the smallest of things.  Her words have an elegant simplicity that speaks directly to our soul.

Hope by Emily Dickinson

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.

I invite you to join me in reciting Hope by Emily Dickinson.

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

52 thoughts on “A Walk in Winter with Emily Dickinson

  1. Hope flies.
    She is my most favorite of all. “This is the land the sunset washes, These are the banks of the yellow sea; Where it rose, or whither it rushes, These are the western mystery.”
    She was an isolate. Lived with herself alone, except of course, for her mind, which was such good company.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours Rebecca,

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Merry Christmas Cindy!! I LOVE those words. I just found Emily Dickinson’s entire poetry collection. She did indeed have good company. Many thanks for a wonderful 2022. Looking forward to entering 2023 together.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Shey for your encouragement and support! Emily has a way a using words that have a simple elegance, to define complexity. In my comments to Dave, I mentioned that I had read a scientific article on hope and found that what they attempted to do in 1500 words, Emily Dickinson did in a few lines.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Hope always sheds light in the dark, yet much brighter, with Emily Dickinson in Nature! Emily Dickinson has a special place in my heart because my brother Al loved her much. And if I don’t repeat myself to say that as I hear her name, this song by Simon & Garfunkel sounds in my ears:

    It’s a still-life watercolour
    Of a now-late afternoon
    As the sun shines through the curtain lace
    And shadows wash the room
    And we sit and drink our coffee
    Couched in our indifference, like shells upon the shore
    You can hear the ocean roar
    In the dangling conversation
    And the superficial sighs
    The borders of our lives
    And you read your Emily Dickinson
    And I my Robert Frost
    And we note our place with book markers
    That measure what we’ve lost

    Thank you so much, dear Rebecca.

    Here is their video link: https://youtu.be/-dnzhPprVVU

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh Liz! How wonderful to wake up to the beauty of a fresh snowfall. Thank you for travelling to my side of the world and share a walk with Miss Emily. I have a feeling that there is a warm welcome for all who knock on your door.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Hopeful message shine brightest in the darkest days of winter. Thanks for this bright message, one I often shared with students on a bulletin board outside my office door. I wonder if the winter scenes in your video come from your neck of the woods–lovely!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am delighted you joined me on my winter walk, Marian. This walk was taking “on the hill.” Vancouver’s snow had melted away, but Simon Fraser University is positioned on top of Burnaby Mountain, which has many walking trails. I did not know you were a professor. The students are very lucky indeed!

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree, Dave!!! Remember that quote in LOTR “May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” What Emily Dickinson has done is define the essence of hope. I was reading an scientific article on hope and found that what they said in 1500 words was captured in a few short poetic lines. My word for 2023 is “hope” for we live in very uncertain times. I am looking forward to the journey. I will be coming to you for to discuss hope in literature. Any suggestions for me to put on my reading list. I was thinking of “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith. Hard to believe I have never read this book. Any others?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hope is a great thought and a great topic, Rebecca! I was very late to “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”; finally read it about a year or so ago. It IS an excellent novel, and it definitely contains hope amid the bad stuff. Other well-known novels with a good dose of hope? In some cases, those would be novels with relatively happy endings after the characters go through lots of struggle — including Jane Austen’s novels, “Silas Marner,” “A Gentleman in Moscow,” Lionel Shriver’s “So Much for That,” Jack London’s “The Sea-Wolf,” and…”The Count of Monte Cristo.” 🙂 I know you’ve read some of them. 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Emily Dickinson, very special company and influence for me, in the world of poetry back in the 1980, when l was living in Los Angles, California. That is more or less the beginning of my attempts at writing poetry in a serious manner. Jean-Jacques


    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Jean-Jacques, for sharing the origins or your poetic journey. It is difficult for me to believe that when Emily Dickinson’s first collection of poetry was published in 1890 that it was met with criticism. Why is it that humanity has a difficult time with recognizing outliers, of seeing an emerging way to see the world, to communicate within a complex environment? Of course, now she is now recognized as a brilliant poet. The questions remains, how many lost the opportunity to enjoy her poetry because they could not see the beauty?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree – it is so easy to relate to what we know. For example, when I walk through a modern art exhibition and do not fully understand the the meaning behind the painting, I have learned to pause and ask whether I would have refused to accept Impressionism? Taking the time to reflect is key to understanding. Thank you so much for your insights, Jean-Jacques.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. It seems we are sharing this feathered hope! I think either you or one of your podcast guests recently remarked that poetry is first and foremost written for poets themselves. Emily Dickinson is remarkable for this. When you set off of your own adventure of writing poetry, Rebecca, you will discover this. It opens so many windows into your own soul and those of your contemplative readers. It’s a great reward.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much Mary Jo for your encouragement to explore poetry. It is a step I take with great trepidation. And yet, isn’t that what we feel when we embark on an adventure, recognizing that we are heading out into the unknown. We see a distant horizon, but find that the joy is knowing “yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
      Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades For ever and forever when I move.”

      Sending many hugs.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. I’m so frustrated that I so often can’t comment on your site. This may be the fifth time I’ve attempted it. The comments area just gets greyed out. I HAD been going to say you had begun my week so well, but I’m beginning to lose my cool! Not you fault, but I wish I knew how to cure it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Margaret! I am so sorry to hear that you are having problems with the commenting. I know that there have been a great deal of updates at WordPress. Blogging has changed dramatically over the years as have the technologies associated with communication via websites. There is more interest in conducting business via WordPress. The blocks are also transitioning and becoming more complex, even as alternatives are increasing. My greatest appreciation for your willingness to put in the extra time and effort to send me your encouraging comment. Sending hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And I’m returning them! Anyway, I’m glad you’re aware I have this problem, as now you know I’m not neglecting your blog, even if I don’t comment. This one comes to you courtesy of the comments box on my side-bar.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Merry Christmas and all the very very best of this festive season, Sally. I am delighted that we are entering another year together. You have given me many days of laughter and introduced me to amazing writers. Thank you for creating a space where all are welcomed and appreciated. Sending hugs and love across the pond.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. A beautiful poem, Rebecca. What a lovely share for the holidays and wish for the new year. Hope is vital, especially during the dark days of winter. I loved the music and the walk in the woods with you. Wishing you a beautiful Christmas and joyous new year. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It appears that we will have snow for Christmas on our side of the world this year, Diana. I just read that snow will come to Vancouver on Saturday night through Sunday, with temperatures 5 -10 below seasonal averages. I am prepared – tea, hot chocolate, marshmallows, great books, and a warm shawl to keep me warm. All the very best of this festive season to you and yours – Merry Christmas.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. A lovely recitation of a special poem.
    Hope was then.
    Hope is now.
    Hope will be tomorrow.

    The visuals in the video are perfect. It’s always a joy to experience poetry with you, Rebecca!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Robbie for sharing the love of this poem with me. I am excited that I have found her collection of poetry on Gutenberg Press.

      I found this treasure, which resonated with my experience of watching a new day come after a night of worry.

      DAWN by Emily Dickinson

      When night is almost done,
      And sunrise grows so near
      That we can touch the spaces,
      It ‘s time to smooth the hair

      And get the dimples ready,
      And wonder we could care
      For that old faded midnight
      That frightened but an hour.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I am delighted to receive your heartwarming comment, Inese! I agree – there is hope too for a new spring and new life. Winter is a time of rest for me, but I think that deep in the earth there are things happening just waiting for the sun to shine warmly. Sending hugs! Happy New Year!!

      Liked by 1 person

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