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Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Instinct of Hope


(Bird and Berries, a wood engraving)

What first alerted me was the sudden sound of dozens of chattering birds. I looked out the window over my desk and saw flashes of brown and muted red against the white snow, a flock of robins hopping and flying about. The birds had dropped in on the garden to feed on the orange berries left on the bittersweet vines.

This took place in the middle of January — they were tourists, obviously, whose flights south to Florida had been delayed.


THE INSTINCT OF HOPE

Is there another world for this frail dust
To warm with life and be itself again?
Something about me daily speaks there must,
And why should instinct nourish hopes in vain?
’Tis nature’s prophesy that such will be,
And everything seems struggling to explain
The close sealed volume of its mystery.
Time wandering onward keeps its usual pace
As seeming anxious of eternity,
To meet that calm and find a resting place.
E’en the small violet feels a future power
And waits each year renewing blooms to bring,
And surely man is no inferior flower
To die unworthy of a second spring?

~ John Clare (1793-1864), English Romantic poet

1 comment:

dylan said...

Here are the first four lines to a sonnet I always liked, by Edward Estlin Cummings. The poem can be found in Etcetera, a posthumous collection of his work.

now winging selves sing sweetly,while ghosts(there
and here)of snow cringe;dazed an earth shakes sleep
out of her brightening mind:now everywhere
space tastes of the amazement which is hope