Poetry – I love it! I love reading it. I love listening to it. I love absorbing it. I love analyzing it. I love writing it. I love reading (and hearing) other people’s interpretations of it.
I read many essays about published literature in my job – high school junior English. One assignment the students must submit is an essay analyzing metaphor and imagery in the poem “Hope is the Thing” by Emily Dickinson.
Reading the students’ thoughts about this poem can be very ‘enlightening’ at times.
The thing is – I have discovered a form of recitation of this poem that I really enjoy. And I want to share it with you.
Now. . . there are a couple of things about this musical rendition that do make me pause. (After all, I am an English teacher. Hellooo!) Trailer Bride has changed a bit of the wording throughout the poem. The worst thing is they changed the first line from “Hope is the thing with feathers” to “Hope is a thing with feathers.” And they use a chicken in the video to represent “the thing with feathers.”
To my mind, these changes disrupt a basic concept in this poem – the metaphor that compares hope to a bird. I don’t think Dickinson was picturing a chicken when she wrote this poem. Yes – a chicken is, technically, a bird. But I think she envisioned a type of lovely bird that could soar through the sky. I don’t know about you, but I don’t associate the words “lovely” and “soar” with a chicken.
Even with that faux pas (at least it is in my mind), I think this is an interesting and entertaining performance of the poem. It could be that they used the chicken to be humorous, or make some kind of statement – I don’t know – and I don’t really want to analyze it ‘that’ deeply. It makes me smile that a modern band has given a musical nod to a beautiful poem from this excellent 19th century poet.
I hope it makes you smile.