Of delicacy in totality

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 08 Aug 2017 10:29:23

By Vijay Phanshikar,


 

‘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.

- Hope is the thing with feathers
A poem by By Emily Dickinson

HOPE!
That silent presence -- in one’s innermost core.
Where is its perch?
Emily Dickinson says, it perches in the soul -- and it has feathers. Without using so many words, the poetess says that hope is dynamic -- it has feathers, and its home is in one’s soul, in one’s sanctum sanctorum of being, so integral to living, so inseparable from one’s circle of experience and emotion
intertwined with the process of life.
Hope!
Without hope, there is no life. For, it is hope on whose wings life travels. It is hope in whose warmth one lives through winters of life. It is hope in whose wet emotion one seeks solace in life’s dry drudgery.
The poem appears simple -- in words and in thought, so to say. Yet, as one reads on -- and on and on -- one does realise that hope also has demands to make -- of life and also of the liver of that life. And at that point, one realises the power this poem conceals in its bosom. For, it talks of the very force that puts praana (technically oxygen, spiritually life’s basic
sustenance) into the body. Hope and praana, thus, are integrally intertwined.
Emily Dickinson captures this idea very effectively:
‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops ...

Yes, hope is also the continuum of life. It is an emotion that lends life its fundamental reason for living on. For, when the winter is on, when the summer scorches, when dry desert confronts one’s barefoot walk through life, when a flood of negative experiences threatens to sweep one off the feet, it is hope that ... sings the tune without the words ... and never stops. Hope, thus, gives one that
much-needed potion to sustain through life’s vagaries, through all things
good-bad-indifferent!
In most cases, hope also lends us belief -- that things would be all right even though it is getting dark and it is getting scary and it is getting negative! So, when going gets tough, the tough gets going as well -- asserting to self, ‘Don’t worry, everything will be all right’!
But, at such points in life, it is not possible for anybody to separate hope from belief. For, who is talking? Who is giving that assurance that things would be all right? Hope, or belief? Or both?
But then, the wise allow both -- hope and belief -- to act as Siamese twins, inseparable,
surgically or spiritually! So, when going gets tough, hope acts and so does belief. Both lend steel to one’s being, both cuddle one’s sagging morale.
Emily Dickinson captures this emotion -- without words -- effectively when she
concludes:
I've heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.
She asserts, hope never believes in crumb -- of life or of me. For, why should it? For, when so many assurances and promises conceal themselves in life, why should not one
harbour hope, why should not one have faith -- in Destiny and also in self, so to say! For, hope does not think in terms of crumbs. For, for it, life is a delicious delicacy in totality!