Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Poem on Hope selected by Thom Peters

File:Backlit mushroom.jpg



It hovers in dark corners
before the lights are turned on,
    it shakes sleep from its eyes
    and drops from mushroom gills,
        it explodes in the starry heads
        of dandelions turned sages,
            it sticks to the wings of green angels
            that sail from the tops of maples.

It sprouts in each occluded eye
of the many-eyed potato,
    it lives in each earthworm segment
    surviving cruelty,
        it is the motion that runs
        from the eyes to the tail of a dog,
            it is the mouth that inflates the lungs
            of the child that has just been born.

It is the singular gift
we cannot destroy in ourselves,
the argument that refutes death,
the genius that invents the future,
all we know of God.

It is the serum which makes us swear
not to betray one another;
it is in this poem, trying to speak.
I found this description of hope most helpful the summer I spent as a hospital chaplain. There, in the clinical sterility that often infects a patient’s room, the images of nature juxtaposed with things one might easily associate with the experience of a patient brought new insight into what exactly constitutes hope.  It is something which we struggle to frame in our language, so we reach for poetry to make our best attempt.  It is that which is beyond plain “reason,” that which begs for us to recognize our very souls.

- Thom Peters

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