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  • Writer's picturePenny Harter


Today's poem / haibun, a gift of hope born from a dream last night. Strange how the subconscious sometimes knows what we need more than we do.

Dream Blessing

Hope is a thing with feathers

Emily Dickinson

In last night’s pre-dawn dream, while walking along a wooded road I find a clutch of brown and beige striated hawk feathers. No hawk lingers nearby as the source—the feathers are just there, a blessing in the roadside grass as if waiting for me. I pick them up, fan them out in my right hand.

blowout party favor—

the coiled paper whistling

as it unrolls

Yesterday was my late husband’s birthday. Since he loved birds, shortly after his death twelve years ago, I laid a few feathers at the base of a standing dresser photograph of him, a hawk feather among them. I later discarded the feathers since they were gathering dust.


what to let go, what

to keep

Hawk feathers are used in ceremonial costumes both in Native American and Celtic rituals. They can represent hope, joy, moving toward a better time, can even bring messages from the spirit world. Knowing this, I close my eyes and gratefully revisit that dream moment.


I search for conch shells,

needing their echoes

© 2020 Penny Harter

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