Monday, July 07, 2014

Monday Poetry Stretch - Faith and Hope

I love the poems that were shared as part of last week's stretch to write about America. I understand the sentiments of both pride and disappointment. What came out in some of the comments and conversations I had afterwards is that even though we are discouraged, we have not lost hope.

A few years back when I traveled to China, I decided to get a tattoo to commemorate my trip. I knew exactly what I wanted. This is my tattoo.

Traditionally, Chinese characters were read from top to bottom and right to left. However, in modern times the western approach to reading from left to right and top to bottom is often used. Read in this fashion, the characters represent faith, hope, and love. Some days it's particularly hard to keep the faith and have hope. Whenever I forget this I need only look in the mirror, my tattoo a gentle reminder to press on. 

This seems like the moment to write about faith, hope, or both.  I do hope you will join me this week. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.


  1. I wrote this for a cancer-themed poetry contest sponsored by my local library (wish me luck!), but it fits this week's theme so well, I had to share it here. It is inspired by my work with visiting artists and families at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, RI:

    By Steven Withrow

    The PICU’s troubadour,
    a hippie volunteer
    who’s here
    three times a week or more,
    resists the urge
    to whisper a dirge
    for the girl from the surgical suite.

    She hasn’t yet succumbed.
    And won’t, says her doctor’s smile,
    if the trial
    succeeds. Her parents, numbed
    by months of fear,
    straining to hear
    hopeful notes in the monitor’s bleat.

    *PICU (pick-you): pediatric intensive care unit

    ©2014 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

  2. Oh, I like that Steve! Here's mine.

    I Believe

    I believe in the toes on my feet—
    pale, knobbly, and touched
    with small hairs like blessings.

    I believe in sprinklers
    trying to be rain
    when they grow up but for now
    making small kingdoms
    of green.

    I believe in the joke
    that is told mostly wrong,
    but laughing together
    is very very good.

    I believe in the curl
    of an octopus tentacle
    like the curl of a leaf
    or of a baby’s hand.

    I believe in the words
    in this poem, of their black scatter
    on the page and the next word
    someone will write, shriek,
    sing, hiss, offer up
    like a sacrifice or a gift.

    I believe.

    —Kate Coombs, 2014
    all rights reserved

  3. These are both so lovely and affecting.

    Here's mine:

    Summer Storm

    Clouds crowd out the sun.
    Winds sweep up,
    tossing treetops
    like tissue paper pom-poms.
    Rain pours from buckets in the sky
    then ripples like a curtain
    in breathless gusts.
    Close to the trunk
    sparrow perches
    her toes closed effortlessly around a branch,
    waiting for the storm
    to pass.

    © Elizabeth Steinglass, 2014, all rights reserved

  4. These are all so differently, affectingly faithful and hopeful! Steven's rhymes are so easy, so fitting, and I love Kate's sprinkler wanting to be rain when it grows up, and Liz's effortless sparrow.

    Despite my great age and annual efforts, I remain a novice gardener. My yard is full of perennials planted by the previous owners...and two new little boxes of food plants.

    plate-sized moonflower
    I bend to peer at a pealike
    cherry tomato

    At last he’s arrived
    I sprint home from school and leap
    Into grandpa’s arms.

    (c) Charles Waters 2014 all rights reserved.