the thing with feathers


We were in Vancouver on Sunday night. We’d gone to see Jordan Tannahill’s superb play Concord Floral at the Roundhouse and then we met with others for dinner at a Greek restaurant. We talked, ate well, drank retsina, and then John and I returned to our hotel. I looked at news on my tablet and read about the atrocity in Quebec City. I kept reading, trying to make sense of it. A young man goes into a mosque and shoots people at prayer? In what country could something like this happen? Not mine; please, not mine.

But it was. For the past few months we’ve thought violence and intolerance lived elsewhere, most recently, even until Sunday night, south of the border in particular, and that we were somehow a kinder gentler nation.

I don’t know what to say. Words seem too small and meaningless in the face of what happened. We will keep on doing what we do. We’ll try for goodness, for kindness, and we’ll try to do something practical too. You are what you do. And there will be something.

For now, a poem.

‘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

2 thoughts on “the thing with feathers”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s