Posts Tagged ‘hope’

On a Difficult Day



Because I don’t know how to pray,

I do what I know to do,

which is to sit very quietly

and let myself feel. To hold you

without holding you.

To imagine your fear

and breathe into it.

To feel my own fear

and walk the edges of its cliffs.

To lean on hope with its flimsy

net and feel how little it takes

to catch us, to save us.


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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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Mine Tour



We sat in the stope, a small room

chiseled and blasted into the stone

1,800 feet below the surface.

Imagine, he says, it is 1899.

First the guide turned out the light.

Then he blew out the candles.

As we sat in the dark, he told us

that only those with a good memory

of how they got in here

would make it back out alive.

Then he turned back on the light.


Sometimes in a darkness,

we feel ourselves trapped,

find ourselves unable

to grope our way back

to some beginning.

In our attempts to emerge

we become increasingly lost.


Sometimes in a darkness,

we come to believe it will always

be dark. How could we know

to hope that by some strange

luck or chance or change

a light might appear

so bright that we would never

again lose our way?



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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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One Unglimmering

before the dawn
the possibility of dawn—
all night holding that

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