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Posts Tagged ‘hope’

 

 

The hope that is left after all your hopes are gone—that is pure hope, rooted in the heart.

            —Brother David Steindl-Rast

 

 

And so tonight when my daughter says to me,

Mom, are you Santa Claus? I ask her if it

would make a difference, and she says, Yes.

 

I don’t want him to just be a hoax for making

kids be good. And I say, I’ve never thought of Santa

that way. I think of him as generous. And magic.

 

And she says, But magic’s not real, and I say,

Some magic is. And she says, Well, it would

make sense. You always know what we want

 

because you’re the mom. And I tell her,

It is my great privilege to work for Santa,

and she says, What do you mean? And I say,

 

Well, you know, buying presents. And she says,

Why do you think he didn’t bring us a big present

this year, like he did last year? And I hear

 

in her voice, against all fact, hope,

the hope that lingers when hope is gone,

a pure hope, the hope that goodness is real,

 

that there is generosity beyond comprehension,

that some magic is real. She rolls over in the dark.

I keep hope rooted in my heart.

 

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It appears still, the crescent moon,

but it’s moving at 2,288 miles per hour,

its light reaching us in less than two seconds.

 

This morning, we marvel at it, as if

we’d never seen moon before, its light

somehow touching us newly.

 

And though we are dashing down

the highway at fifty-eight miles per hour,

watching the moon, I feel something

 

in me quiet and still. Years ago, a friend told me

it was time to stop writing moon poems.

How to stop when each time

 

we see the moon, something new in us rises

to meet it? May we always write moon poems,

whether or not anyone reads them.

 

May we always marvel at the light

and shadow so far past our reach

and yet travelling with us

 

every day, every night. May it always feel

important, like hope, impossible to touch

and so real, so true.

 

 

 

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It’s not so much that you want the snow

back in the drive, it’s just that your back

felt so much better before the shoveling,

 

and so, using your sideways logic, you think

to yourself that if the snow were unshoveled

your back might unhurt. And while

 

you’re at it, you think you might unthink

those thoughts you thought the night before

shoveling the drive. Though they didn’t

 

amount to any action, now that you’ve

thought them they’ve become a frame

that’s changed everything. So you start

 

with the snow, because revising that seems easier

than anything else, but to shovel it back

in the drive would seem to exacerbate

 

the problem with the back, so

you consider ways the snow might unfall,

all of them fanciful. At least for a while,

 

it amuses you, the idea of ten million

million snowflakes rising, but then

the reality of drought returns and you

 

feel guilty for unwishing the snow. No,

better to put your hope in perseverance,

better to put your hope in healing.

 

It happens. And you walk up the drive,

so snowless and clear you can safely look up

at the sky and see all those stars. The snow

 

gathers whatever light there is. It can’t

unshine. You thrill a bit in the chill. Some

of the shine reaches into you. Some of it stays.

 

 

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Just as you give up,

there, through the trees,

you see a clearing

and though it’s exhausting

to be hopeful again

when there’s so little

to show for your hope,

you walk to the clearing

and there in the moss,

hundreds of chanterelles.

 

When you leave

to reenter the broken world,

some of the hope

sticks to you like tiny burrs,

able to seed themselves

anywhere you carry them.

By noon, nearly everything

seems possible.

 

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double rainbow to the east—

I stand in the rain and watch

as its colors deepen—

something small inside me

grows brighter, bright enough

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when it’s morning,

when the birds are already

weaving music through the trees.

Easier when the dew

still shines on the leaves

and the world is warming.

In these ripening moments,

it’s hard to remember,

was it only hours ago,

how darkness poured over you

like oil in the ocean.

How nothing seems possible then.

But here, here is the bright red neck

of morning, humming through the shadows

on emerald wings, and here you are,

rising to meet it, not even

because you want to, but

because something in you rises

and carries you with it into the day.

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Before the Sun Returns

Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts.

            —Wendell Berry

 

 

On this gray morning,

I want to give you

the yellow of the oriole,

the way it weaves through

the invisible weight of the air.

So much touches us

that we can’t see,

and we wonder why

we feel heavy.

I would give you, too,

the gray whirr of the wings

of the hummingbird,

their improbable accuracy

as they negotiate the world

in search of what is sweet,

and I would give you

your own fine feet

still learning to master

one step at a time

and the long pause

in between.

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One Emergence

 

 

 

no moon in the sky

reaching for it anyway—

a siren wails in the night

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But darn if that scent of lemon

isn’t just so yellow, and though

I meant to write about the squeeze

of fear, there’s that bright perfume

on my fingertips and all I can think

is how full of sunshine it is, that scent,

though the room is dark,

though the last thing I thought

I could write about tonight

was hope.

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Already the frost has come,

both intricate and merciless,

and it has taken the basil,

the green beans, the zinnias

and whatever hope we had

that summer might never end.

We knew our hope was irrational,

but that’s never stopped a hope before.

Every day there’s more evidence

against hope—the headlines,

the angry boy down the street,

the child bride in Afghanistan.

And still it rises up, slightly

browned, but still shining

like that marigold bloom that was hiding

beneath a sunflower leaf—

it should be frosted and dead, but

it’s not. Damn hope. Never

acting the way we think it will.

May it trick us forever into choosing

to live another day. And after a long winter

when we’re sure it’s gone, may it always

reseed, putting up dozens of starts.

Not all of them will make it. Some will.

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