Sunday, July 18, 2021

“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 (1891)

Pictured top: Feather Tattoo (AKA Hope), 2019, ink and gouache on Khadi paper, 21 x 15 cm. 

It’s almost two years since I made this drawing and like to think that something of the almost overwhelming sense of optimism I felt at the time is conveyed in the work. Today, while the State of Victoria holds its breath, I hover between despair or (as in the lyric from Cock-Eyed Optimist by Oscar Hammerstein), am “stuck like a dope with a thing called hope”.