Poem VAR #254

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 have heard it in the chillest land
and on the strangest sea
yet never in extremity
it asked a crumb of me


HWL's Comment

Date of writing: 1979

Subject: A little bird, tossed by the gales before a stormy coast is here made the graphic emblem of female orgasmic arousal, fighting frantically to “get ashore” (connect with the glans.) The final two lines hold a typical Dickinsonian witticism: Her arousal asks no “crumb” of herself, ever. We must take that in the sense: she wants no “crumby” compensation, she wants the great, the full one, the mutual climax. For, we might as well remember, she could ask even less than the crumb of herself: she could have to satisfy herself with masturbation.