Once I read Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson, which makes frequent mention of Emily Dickinson's well-known poem. The book makes use of mostly just the first two lines, but here is the whole poem for those who dislike incomplete poetry:
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 chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
The book was okay. It didn't really have a plot, which makes it more difficult for me to enjoy, but oh well. I stayed up very late to finish it anyway, since that's what I do when I read. The interesting part came the next morning, when I woke up and went outside to find...
All over the driveway.
At first I didn't remember that I had read that book the previous night. I only thought of the cats, and wondered which cat had done it--Big Orange Fluffy or some other neighborhood cat (since Anya would be far out of her realm catching birds).
The feathers were scattered across the lawn and driveway, caught in the plants, blown onto the roof, and there was a cluster of them near the planter. Oddly enough, there was no other sign of a dead bird, and judging by the large amount of feathers, I felt pretty safe in assuming the bird was, in fact, dead. I thought it strange that the cat should do such a thorough job (I learned later that the bird had been taken care of before I went outside).
As I stared at the strange puffy disease-ridden feathers I remembered the book I'd read, and the two lines that were repeated so frequently: "Hope is the thing with feathers/ That perches in the soul."
I didn't think it was a sign. But I did think it was ironic: my cat killed the thing with feathers.