26 May Hope
Program Note: Hope (2011) Music by James Rolfe, words by Emily Dickinson.
Hope was commissioned by North Toronto Collegiate Institute (Carol Ratzlaff, Head of Music Department) on the occasion of their 100th anniversary.
Poems (by Emily Dickinson)
Hope is a strange invention
A Patent of the heart
In unremitting action
Yet never wearing out
Of whose electric Adjunct
Not anything is known
Though its unique Momentum
Inebriate our own.
Musicians wrestle everywhere
All day, among the crowded air
I hear the silver strife.
And, waking long before the morn,
Such transport breaks up the town
I think it that “New Life”!
It is not bird, it has no nest,
Nor “Band” in brass and scarlet drest,
Nor Tamborin, nor Man;
It is not Hymn from pulpit read,
The “Morning Stars” the Treble led
On Time’s first Afternoon!
Some say, it is “the Spheres” at play!
Some say, that bright Majority
Of vanished Dames and Men!
Some think it service in the place
Where we, with late celestial face,
Please God, shall Ascertain!
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.