Emily Dickinson has to be read in the winter, when the sky grows dark before 5pm and the wind reaches little tendrils down your neck. She has to be read from inside the window, while the light creates shadows on the glass and your forgotten tea steams quietly beside your trembling hand.
"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.
Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by R.W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)