Hope is a conundrum. It’s very difficult to live a happy life without it, but, at the same time, it can lead to disappointment which leads to unhappiness. Sometimes it’s even necessary to abandon all hope because a situation is, uh, shall we say, hopeless? We humans can actually grieve over the loss of hope — such grief is despair. No one wants that, but sometimes you can’t choose.
Still, I think Emily Dickinson and Thomas Hardy both wrote perfect poems explaining hope.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
“The Darkling Thrush”
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
The land’s sharp features seemed to be
The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.
At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.
So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.
And, sometimes when you write the Daily Prompt you learn something. I just learned that the American robin is a true thrush, and, for the large number of people who don’t like winter, the sight of spring’s first robin is always a hopeful sign.
The Last Baby Robin to Leave the Nest by my Back Door Last Spring