Posts Tagged ‘hope’

Becoming the Bird

Once on a bridge
I had met a hope,
a radiant maybe,
a glint of perhaps,
but I am so far
from that glint today
that when I stand
again on that bridge
I almost hate hope
with its stupid wings,
always promising
to carry us toward
something better.
I stand on that bridge
and stand on that bridge,
my inner perch
empty, silent.
I turn to face
the autumn wind.
It batters my bare skin. 
I sing full-throat into the gale.

*This poem is in conversation with Emily Dickinson’s famous poem, “Hope is the thing with feathers …” which you can find here

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Sometimes when I fall long enough,
I stop hoping I will stop falling.
In those moments, when I no longer
wish for the wings of an answer,
or for the solid ground of resolution,
such beautiful surrender
in the dropping through space,
in submitting to the weight
of what it takes to hold a soul.

I wonder if Icarus felt it, too. Perhaps,
if only for a moment, he knew
the rush of air, the thrill of not trying
to inhibit the tumble, the gift of knowing
self as free fall, the skill of giving in,
every prayer coming out as sound of wind.

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One Dedication

hope gets a flat tire—
stubborn, the heart
starts walking

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Nudged by hope
the heart rises
from exhaustion.

It’s like the great blue heron
I saw this morning
flying up from a wasteland

on broad gray wings
with strong, slow beats
for a moment charged

with grace
before—did you
see this, heart?—

it chose to land again,
bringing all its beauty
to the desolate place.

This poem is published in the wonderful ONE ART Poetry Journal

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Thanking the Christmas Cactus

Tonight, for a moment,
my world shrinks to the size
of the Christmas cactus,
which, despite the storm
that even now blusters outside,
has opened dozens of voluptuous
red blooms, as if to say,
Here I am, blooming midwinter,
and you can do it, too.
There are days when
the news makes me doubt
the value of blooming—
when the headlines alone
twist hope into a crumpled,
unrecognizable heap.
But then some snippet
of beauty finds me—
a scarlet flower,
a handwritten letter—
and breaks any scale
I would use to interpret
the world. It’s not that the terror
goes away, no. But for a few
moments, I am blessed
with the certainty
that even the smallest beauty matters
and that it is my job
to meet life however it appears—
petal, bomb, sweetness, pain—
grateful for my humanness,
vulnerable and tenuous
though it is.

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“We have a lot of things we are in the midst of. What do you think this moment is inviting us to understand? Where would you like to be in spring? Where would you like to see us as a world be?” 

—Kara Johnstad, Voice Rising Host, Om Times Radio

For a sliver

of a moment

I cradled

the whole world

in my thoughts—

every president,

peasant, seamstress,

beggar, businessman,

acrobat, child—

every one of us

a vessel

and I knew

in that instant

the power

of a wish—

as if hope

has a foothold

in reality,

as if a slim glimmer

is inevitable


of unstoppable radiance.

With quiet clarity

I knew exactly

what I wish

for each of us—

I told her, too—

but I will refrain

from telling you.

Instead, I’ll hand you

the question

so you, too,

might make a wish,

so that you, too,

might glimmer,

might beacon.

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Making Applesauce

To buy three boxes of apples

is to believe the world

will go on long enough

that we should preserve

the goodness of autumn.

Perhaps it is practical

to cook the fruit,

to store it in jars,

but I prefer to think of it

as hope filling the house

with its sweet red perfume,

hope filling the shelves

with the memory

of sunshine, of bloom.

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One Arriving

hiding in each day

a trap door—

hope and I fall through

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It Just Might Happen

Everywhere I go, I find them—

people who bring love to the world.

Reading the headlines,

I sometimes think love is dead

and humans are brutes

and we may as well all give up.

But every time I leave home,

I meet pedestrians who wave

and women who give understanding nods,

and men who offer to pay when the person

in front of them is short a few bucks.

People hold doors for each other with a smile

and I’ve seen folks pick up trash

off the sidewalk and go out of their way

to not step on a beetle or a worm.

My friend Wayne says,

We have to love the world

to want to save it,

and sometimes, I think

it just might happen—

though every day unspeakable cruelty

happens on these same streets.

Oh this world.

Even as I feel my guard go up,

I see strangers chatting on the corner

as they wait for the bus,

notice how their laughter

threads through the noise of the day

like a song, like a kite.

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rm sneffels smile

Hope has holes

in its pockets.

It leaves little

crumb trails

so that we,

when anxious,

can follow it.

Hope’s secret:

it doesn’t know

the destination—

it knows only

that all roads

begin with one

foot in front

of the other.

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