birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

The Thing With Feathers

I once made a project for myself of memorizing poetry.
The kind of poetry that does not come easily to me.

I can easily retrieve Mary Oliver. Some Rilke. David Whyte. Shakespeare. T.S. Eliot. Kunitz. When I spend time with these poets in the distilled waters of words, they become a part of me. Accessible. Like a Greek chorus of one. The wisdom of poetry is good company in times of growth and solitude.

But Emily Dickenson, a big favorite with my teacher Marion, did not sink in so well. So, I purchased a little book of her poems with her portrait on the cover. It can fit easily into the palm of my hand. It can slip into a purse, backpack, or carryon. A romantic companion for me to learn from. The book was set strategically on my office desk, with the promise to myself to pick it up in spare moments I might otherwise fritter away on myPhone.

I have fallen away from poetry. I am re-finding my way again. Some new poets, some old. And, I am doing so as I have also forgotten what it feels like to hope. Not daydreams or pipe dreams. No wishful or magical thinking. Real hope.

My psyche has been in a liminal space for awhile. The floating feeling of liminality does not allow for sentimental hope. One is on the raft in the big water. Doldrums. Understanding, that psychologically this is a place before an initiation into the next. The in-between. In Jung's terms, "holding the tension" without making it this or that, until, it is clearly felt that the tide has turned.

A shift occurred yesterday. And the quickening touch of hope flickered within. Bringing with it, Emily Dickenson:

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.

The Peter Pan Stand

Dave, with the Mischievous Eyes