Fall: It's Not So Bad
Monday's Rolled Around Again, Folks

Trying to Speak

All week long, I look for  . . . 


and then on Fridays?
I report back!


This week I've been thinking a lot about what I mean, exactly, when I say I'm looking for . . . hope.

I know what hope means, the technical definition and all. And I have a sense of what I'm looking for. But it's so hard to articulate. Hope -  as a concept - is hard to pin down. It's not just optimism (too simple) -- it's much more obscure; it's fleeting. It's a deeper . . . something. It's one of those I'll-know-it-when-I-see-it (or feel it) kind of things.

I didn't come up with a clear and succinct way to explain it. But I do know that I can look to the words of poets to help me express what I mean; to describe hope to me in a way I can feel in my heart; that we can all feel in our souls. Who better than poets . . . to give us the words that lift us up; that speak to the universal importance of hope and resilience?

So I've decided to just stop trying to define or explain it myself . . . and just offer you a poem of hope from another of my favorite poets, Lisel Mueller, instead.



Lisel Mueller

It hovers in dark corner
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 can not destroy in ourselves,
the arguement 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.


My best wishes to all of you . . . for a weekend filled with peace and solace, time to rest -- and things that bring you joy. (And maybe some poetry, too.) 

Don't forget to look for hope.
(It's out there, trying to speak.)


Today's poem was published in Alive Together: New and Selected Poems by Lisel Mueller, 1996, Louisiana State University Press.  Information about the poet can be found here



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I think hope looks different for each of us and I am happy for your weekly explorations and reminders to be on the look out. I find that hopeful.


I'm looking! It's a bit of a challenge right now but I have hope, I really do.


I think that poem is a great illustration of all the different things hope can be and the many ways it can present itself to us. I'll be looking for signs of hope and thinking of you!


I love the many, unexpected visions of hope in that poem (and might look at sprouted potatoes differently now)! I had to laugh because your searching for a definition of hope reminded me of Potter Stewart on the Supreme Court trying to characterize pornography: "I can not readily define the term hard-core pornography, but I know it when I see it." You know hope when you see it!

kathy b

Aw, I will look for HOPE this weekend. I am seeing more signs for my candidate than they other guy, and that gives me hope


I don't believe we can live without hope. Just getting up each morning is an act of hope. Without it we would waste away. I see it as a spiritual act of mercy to instill, revive or increase hope in others, thus strengthening our own sense of hope. Sometimes all that is needed is a smile. Chloe


Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem! (and a new to me poet!!) I hope your weekend has lots of glimpses of hope... everywhere you look! XO

Gale Zucker

Thank you for sharing another beautiful poem.
Looking for hope here, too.


I am always looking for hope these days -- it's almost become a survival mechanism. I think this poem really captures it well. Sometimes hope is there right in front of us, but it's small and unassuming, so we can't always see it -- which is why it's become so important to purposefully look for it.


I'm really loving these HopeFull posts, Kym - thank you!


Hope was my word for today. I went out for a walk with a friend so my hope was about having a good day and the weather being dry. I love the poem, thank you for sharing.


The poem perfectly describes the feeling of hope. I see hope everywhere (especially when I stay off the computer) and my heart is full as can be (until I see the news). The blue sky outside my window is calling me. I think I'll look for yellow leaves (which I know I'll find) to compliment it.

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