Weekly Reading Topic for October 24, 2020: Hope Is the Thing
Well, good morning, love! I just opened a Reading for you, my newsletter subscribers and here’s what I heard in answer to the following:
What do my readers most need to hear this weekend? What is the most important message to send to my beloved readers?
The answer was: “hope is the thing.”
With deepest gratitude to Emily Dickinson, what follows is your weekly reading, dearest one.
Weekly Reading │ Hope Is the Thing
Q: What do we need to know about “hope is the thing?”
A: One of Emily Dickinson’s most famous poems probably expresses this weekend’s theme best, so let’s start there.
“Hope” Is The Thing With Feathers
“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, poem 314, from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, Harvard University Press
This weekend, let’s join Emily — our lovely Grandmother of American Poetry — in her contemplation of the thing with feathers, the strange little robin that flutters about our ribcage and sings about spring even as we enter this deep, dark season.
The Hallows draws near, dears, and with it, the uprising of all the dead. Those who have passed, sure, we think about them as the autumn leaves fly. But all the other dead are coming, too.
The dead ideas that drag our mind into ruts of repetition. We mull our darkest thoughts, over and over, asleep to how they are dragging us around.
The dead ambitions that don’t fit who We Really Are.
The dead longings that are just habit, just old cravings that we satisfied in other ways.
It’s time to meet our dead, and negotiate peace with them. Listen, listen, as they whisper in our ears and reach for our hands, and then smile at them, and say the words they long to hear:
No need for you, any longer, you can go, you can return to whence you came.
And as they exit our minds and hearts, they leave our beautiful bodies empty as cathedrals, which means not empty at all.
The singers reading this know that the body is not just flesh and blood, it is a giant cavernous vessel for sound. The feet stamp into the earth, draw up strength, flood the bowl of the pelvis with power, and that power vibrates until a great sound is made, which echoes in the chambers of the torso, thrust by the lungs through the gate of the throat where it is shaped by the tongue and spun out into the air for the rest of us to hear.
Our bodies make songs, loved ones.
And when the dead thoughts and desires and longings and ambitions leave, and we are cleaned out, we are blessed by these sounds we can make, and we can sing with that small bird called hope, the thing with feathers has plenty of room to fly.
And she does. She flies, and everywhere she swoops in our body she leaves a trail of lovely trills and whistles, and we feel them as shivers of excitement. Our skin puckers with gooseflesh as she threads her way out of her nest in our heart, fills the ribcage with her song, and races along our arms.
Our very noses tingle with her tickling song.
We hear it when we are going to sleep, even, slipping away from the world, listening to her last notes to lull us to sleep. And in the morning, if we stay a moment before we remember our name, we can hear her again, quietly greeting us.
She has been singing all night long, thrumming away at her work. She loves us, and she is true to us.
And so listen, loved ones. Listen to everything.
Let your dead go, and listen to the thing with feathers grow strong-voiced.
She is singing for you.
Strike the ground with your heels, stand on your feet, let your knees loosen and your body sway, and sing, sing with her this weekend.
We have “Hope,” and she never leaves us. Or asks anything of us, except to clean out our bodies and minds and hearts so she has a beautiful cathedral to fill with songs that sound like prayers.
She never fails to sing for us, and she never fails to give excellent advice.
As the dark of the year approaches, as the troubled times continue, hollow out yourself so you can fill up with birdsong. It will help, and it will make the Song louder, so others can hear it, too.
I am always here to serve in any way I can.
Much Love to You,
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