Friday, September 23, 2011

To Fish is to Hope

“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.

*   *   *   *   

And "Hope" is the lady with a flyrod

And "Hope" is the lady with a flyrod -
Learning something new -
Just for the weekend she can drop her facade -
She can forget all that she's been through -

Or she can remember - without fear -
Supported by new friends -
She'll find a way to steer -
Through all life's twists and bends -

I've seen Hope by the pond -
Heard Hope in the happy shouts -
I've remembered those who've gone to the Beyond -
All this is what hope's about.

This is the weekend of our Ohio Casting for Recovery Retreat.  Here's a post I wrote about it a couple of years ago and a PSA:

Casting For Recovery (CFR) is an international non-profit support and education program for breast cancer survivors.

The program involves a free weekend wellness program where, in addition to support and education relating to breast cancer, women learn fly fishing, "A sport for life."

CFR weekend programs incorporate counseling, educational services, and the sport of fly fishing to promote mental and physical healing. Founded in 1996, CFR offers free programs across the United States and in several countries worldwide.

Today alone, over 500 women will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Tomorrow, it will be the same. This number does include those already living with the disease or those who do not know they have it.

The Poetry Friday round up is at Picture Book of the Day.


  1. Mary Lee, This is a favorite poem for me, partly because we have a daughter, "Hope." Or maybe we have a Hope daughter because of this poem. Now when I read Emily's words, I will not only think of her or our Hope, but I will think of you with your fly-rod and you teaching someone how she is improving her cast, not lacking in it. I'll think about the people who are gone. You're enriched some words again for me today - and I thank you. Your earlier post was before my "Poetry Friday Time," and I'm so glad you are ok and here and continuing to spread hope... a.

  2. Beautiful poem, Mary Lee. You are such a light, fearless friend. :)

  3. Nice. I had my daughter memorize this poem by Dickinson during the summer and she loved it and took to it so easily. I'd have to introduce her to your version:

    "I've seen Hope by the pond -
    Heard Hope in the happy shouts -
    I've remembered those who've gone to the Beyond -
    All this is what hope's about."

    All my well wishes. :)

  4. Mary Lee,

    That's one of my favorite Dickinson poems. And your poem touches my heart. Two of my oldest and dearest friends are breast cancer survivors. I am so grateful they are still with me today.

    My husband and I lost one of our best friends--someone we've been very close to for fifty years--in late May. He was a brilliant and amazing man. He had a true gusto for life. I miss him so much. When Steve was diagnosed with his rare form of cancer, doctors told him he had 2 to 12 months to live. Steve had hope, a wonderful supportive wife and children, and a positve attitude. He tried some alternative forms of treatments after his first round of chemotherapy. He survived for nearly five years.

  5. Wonderful poem and post, Mary Lee! You rock.

  6. Anonymous2:30 PM

    What a fun activity and for such a great cause!

    Thanks for participating in Poetry Friday this week!

    :-) Anastasia

  7. My favorite E.D. poem...and know I shall always think of it along with the visual of a line spinning out in the hopes of reeling something in.

  8. I, too, love that Dickinson poem, Mary Lee - thanks for posting it, and for sharing your very thought-provoking poem, too.


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