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Friday, April 2, 2021

"....the thing with feathers that perches in the soul...."

TM, a woman who lives in Queens, sent me a copy of the photo seen atop this entry, which she took while on a walk. 

I guess she thought of me when she saw the chalkboard quotation because a few years ago (in March of 2019), I read a mediation by Dr. James Campbell ("In Praise of Pigeons") on Emily Dickinson's poem titled “Hope is the thing with feathers” and shared it with TM.

Part of Campbell’s meditation stated: "When I imagine that 'little bird' of which Dickinson wrote, I automatically think of the starlings and the sparrows of my Indiana childhood.  I might even imagine the colorful and aggressive blue jays or cardinals that I still enjoy watching. But when I think of hope and birds and bird songs, I never ever think of a pigeon...."

The meditation goes on to talk about the orator's experience with pigeons and he adds, "But those pigeons were persistent, muscular, determined....They never let me forget that they were there..." 

And he continues his thought re Dickinson's poem repeating the line, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune--without the words, and never stops at all…. But it’s not a delicate little bird, easily frightened away.  Hope is a New York City pigeon – persistent, determined, muscular, cooing at us even when we do not want to hear her song, reminding us that where we are today is not where we shall end.  The exiles will return. There will be justice and equity for the poor of the earth..."

More info can be found within another entry on my blog. Btw, pigeons and references to poems (including other ones by Emily Dickinson) can be found in my hard-cover book series, Words In Our Beak

This is a photo of my three volume book series, "Words In Our Beak." Information re the books is another one of my blog  posts @

The goal of these books is to open readers to a simple understanding of the winged world and their environment. Set in a rooftop urban garden (mine) in New York City, my story is told in the voice of Cam, a female cardinal, who visits it. Words In Our Beak is directed to children and adults who are curious about birds, and want to learn about them from a unique perspective. 

The books make a perfect gift for someone who may be in quarantine or lockdown due to consequences of the coronavirus because the stories in them can bring the outdoors into the homes of those who cannot go out (or should not) and about.

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