Hope ( Day 7 )

A white feather floating on blue water, illustration for Hope post. Picture by Bernie Delaney.

The Challenge for Day 7

The challenge for Day 7 was to write a letter to your younger self. I found this quite difficult. Too many competing emotions, I think. The poems of Emily Dickenson have always inspired me and never more so than today. Here is the first verse of ” Hope”


“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –




Dear Bernie,

You are probably wondering who is writing to you out of the blue like this? Well, let’s say a little bird told me that you were feeling a bit lost and confused right now and needed a friend.  You’re thirteen, just growing from a child into a woman, and I know it all seems strange. But it’s all perfectly normal, even the way you get upset more easily, so don’t worry about that. I know you feel that life isn’t fair sometimes, but that happens to all of us. Someday, you will probably laugh about all the things you are worrying about today!

It’s summer now, August, and soon it will be time to leave everything you know behind. The good and the bad. Let’s focus on the good things, I’m trying to imagine them now. The orchard with those delicious purple plums hanging just out of reach, the little furry gooseberries you’d eat even if they were half-raw, the peas you’d pop from their pods just for the sheer fun of it. The smell of beef stew, bubbling on the range. And the dusty old books on the huge mahogany bookshelves, some of them perhaps bearing your scribbly notes and drawings. Remember, you will always have these memories to light up any sad moments. Treasure them.

Don’t worry about boarding school. Of course, it will be tough at first and you’ll probably be lonely at times. But trust me, you will find ways of coping through friendship and learning and imagination. You are a bit of a dreamer, or so my little bird tells me, but that’s a good thing.  Do you remember Sir telling your Mam that you wrote like one of the Brontes? And you were so excited you dropped all your pens on the floor, they rolled under all the desks and it took you ages to find them. Well, there will be moments in Secondary school when you’ll feel just as excited. And college too, because I’m sure that’s one of your dreams.

Maybe you want to be an artist or a writer? Follow your dreams, but remember that you will have to work hard to achieve them.  You can do it, I believe in you. And never lose hope, even if people don’t understand or things go wrong sometimes. Stay honest, kind and brave, just like you are today. Yes, I said brave!  You might not believe it, but I think you are one of the bravest people I know.

Your Mam will miss you when you are gone, she will even cry when she sees your empty bed. Your brothers and sisters will have one less little chick to fight and laugh with, but we all have to take our first flight someday. And there will be a lot of busy chirping every time you are all together again! Trust me, I know these things.

And now it’s your turn to ask, how can she know so much about me? Well, I know because I’m very like you. And I was thirteen, once.

Your friend,




The photograph is my own. See on Flickr.

This post is Day 7 of My 500 Words 31 Day Challenge with Jeff Goins.

Part of my Ireland series, as a result of my Three Questions post.


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