The Friday Poem ‘August’ by Helen Hunt Jackson

The Friday Poem this week is ‘August’ by Helen Hunt Jackson. The poem was published in the August 1876 issue of The Atlantic. Ms. Jackson was a poet, historian, author and childhood friend of Emily Dickinson. As an activist, she would go on champion the rights of Native Americans.”

In 1884 she published ‘Ramona’, a fictionalized account of the plight of Southern California’s dispossessed Mission Indians, inspired by Harriet Beecher Stowe’s ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’.

The Friday Poem – because we all “Hath need of pause and interval of peace.”

 August

Silence again. The glorious symphony
Hath need of pause and interval of peace.
Some subtle signal bids all sweet sounds cease,
Save hum of insects’ aimless industry.
Pathetic, summer seeks by blazonry
Of color to conceal her swift decrease.
Weak subterfuge! Each mocking day doth fleece
A blossom and lay bare her poverty.
Poor, middle-agèd summer! Vain this show!
Whole fields of golden-rod cannot offset
One meadow with a single violet;
And well the singing thrush and lily know,
Spite of all artifice which her regret
Can deck in splendid guise, their time to go!

H.H. 

Reprinted from The Atlantic, August 1876

 

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Image: William S. Jackson, Special Collections, Tutt Library, Colorado College

The Friday Poem “Hope” is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson

What do we have if we don’t have hope?

In December, U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. One of the most stunning, yet relatable, quotes concerned ‘hope’- the promise of her husband’s presidential campaign eight years ago.

“I think that we feel the difference now. See, now we’re feeling what not having hope feels like. 

“Hope is necessary. It’s a necessary concept, and Barack didn’t just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes.”

“What else do you have, if you don’t have hope? What do you give your kids if you can’t give them hope?”

The Friday poem this week is from the nineteenth century American poet, Emily Dickinson – because we all could use a little hope “perched in our soul” in this new year.

“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 ‘The Poems of Emily Dickinson’ edited by R.W. Franklin

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