If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. From a letter to Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Although Emily Dickinson lived a secluded and outwardly uneventful life, a spinster in the family homestead at Amherst, Massachusetts, her poems are evidence of the extraordinary range and intensity of her inner life. Virtually unpublished (through her own preference) in her lifetime, she was a truly original voice in poetry, both in her metrical innovations and in her ability to fuse word, image, and thought with marvelous compression and economy.
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.